News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
DAILY FEATURES >
 CROSSWORD  
 HOROSCOPES  
 CARTOONS  
 DEAR ABBY  
 CLASSIFIEDS  
 EMPLOYMENT  
 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT  
 REAL ESTATE  
 AUTOMOTIVE  
 REMEMBRANCE  
 GOODS & SERVICES

science

ZAGATA: Science Can Be Political Tool, And Even Worse, Up For Sale

Column by Mike Zagata for October 26, 2018.

Science Can Be Political Tool,
And Even Worse, Up For Sale

Mike Zagata

I read with interest and admiration the article in last week’s paper about the different kinds of “truth.”
Objective truth is the “truth” that
is supported by fact. Subjective “truth” is what circumstances point toward or what we want, based on the information we have at our disposal,
to believe.
The Senate confirmation hearings for judge, now justice, Kavanaugh were used in the article to illustrate the differences.
I found myself agreeing with the points being made until the author alleged that
it was the Republicans
who failed in the search for
THE truth by not having the FBI conduct a thorough investigation.
The truth is that we have no idea whether or not their investigation was “thorough.” What we do know is that the Democrats
sat on the information alleging
sexual abuse until AFTER the
Senate hearings.
Had they wanted the FBI to do a thorough investigation in search of the “truth”, the information about alleged sexual abuse would have been provided to the FBI
BEFORE, not AFTER, the
hearings. Had that been done, the FBI’s findings would have been a part of those hearings and thus fully vetted.
Based on that information, one can conclude the real agenda was not a search for the “truth”, but an attempt to delay the judge’s confirmation until after the mid-term elections.

Does that conclusion represent the objective or subjective “truth”? Each of us enters the search for the real “truth”

with built-in bias. That makes it very difficult to accept
information that differs from the results we want, i.e.
don’t confuse me with the facts.
It becomes tempting to omit certain information when offering our version of the truth to others. For example, the author omitted the fact that the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee sat on the allegation of sexual abuse for six weeks prior to the hearings. Without that information, it is much easier to “sell” the truth that the FBI didn’t do a thorough investigation.

Finding the truth is not easy. I was invited to lunch recently by a person who wanted to talk about climate change. The person was very sincere and had done considerable research on the topic. In fact, it was that research that led to confusion, because one source stated that the recent deviations in our climate were outside the norm and another source said they weren’t.
How does the average lay person or non-scientist determine which one is the “truth”?
Unfortunately, science has become a political tool and, worse yet, can be for sale. If a scientist gets a government funded grant to do research on climate change, should that scientist’s findings have to agree with the government’s position? The answer is “no”, but grants have been withdrawn when
they didn’t.
That’s not true “science” where we test the null hypothesis and let the chips fall where they might. If we deliberately omit data points because they aren’t consistent with what
we want them to be, that isn’t
good science.
The downsides of doing so are a loss of public confidence and the expenditure of scarce capital to cure a problem that may not exist. If we cry “wolf” when there is no wolf, will the public be willing to support what needs to be done when a real “wolf” exists?

It’s election season, and we’re all being bombarded by various versions of the truth by candidates for office. I do not personally know all of the candidates, so I can only reach the subjective truth about how I feel they will perform if elected.
I do, however, personally know two of the candidates – state Sen. Jim Seward and Congressman John Faso. I worked with them while serving as your DEC commissioner and knew John as a neighbor.
I have watched them make the tough decisions based upon the objective truth when they could have ducked them. Those decisions were intended to provide real, measurable benefit to their constituents. That’s the objective truth based on fact.

Mike Zagata, DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and an environmental executive for Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Tales From The Empire Hotel

14-19eventspage

THEATER – 7 – 8:30 p.m. Performance by Tom Morgan “Tales from the Empire” telling the story of the Morgan family, former owners of The Empire Hotel in Gilbertsville. Adapted from autobiographical stories in newspaper columns, radio show “Moneytalk.” Cost, $15/adult. Auditorium, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/calendar-a

TEDX ONEONTA – 6 – 9 p.m. Locally organized evening of lectures on topics from exercise, genocide, happiness, child rearing in the digital age, the opiod epidemic, more. Goodrich Theater, SUNY Oneonta. www.tedxoneonta.com

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, AUGUST 30
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, AUGUST 30

Community Folk Art Exhibit

14-19eventspage

OPENING RECEPTION – 5:30 – 7 p.m. Community exhibit “Finding Our Roots” featuring works by Janet and Charles Munro. Showing thru 9/30. Free, open to public. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org

AUDITIONS – 4 – 6:30 p.m. Love to Sing? Try out for the winter concert Messe de Minuit pour Noel by Marc-Antione Charpentier, a work based on French Christmas Carols. All voices welcome. Bass & Tenor always needed. Sight reading not required. First Presbyterian Church, 296 Main St., Oneonta. 607-431-6060 to schedule audition or visit catskillchoralsociety.com for more information.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, JULY 24
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, JULY 24

Music, Literature, Bill Murray

14-19eventspage

SPECIAL PERFORMANCE – 8 p.m. One night program featuring chamber music and literature with cellist Jan Vogler, pianist Vanessa Perez, and violinist Mira Wang performing selections from Bach, Schubert, and readings from Walt Whitman and James Fenimore Cooper. Also including Bill Murray (Ghost Busters, Lost in Translation, Moonlight Kingdom, etc.). Glimmerglass Festival, 7300 St. Hwy. 80, Cooperstown. 607-547-2255 or visit glimmerglass.org/events/bill-murray-jan-vogler-and-friends-new-worlds/

CONCERT – 7 p.m. Dyer Switch Band performs traditional tunes from 1st-generation bluegrass giants, as well as originals. Lakefront Park, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-5256 or visit richcooperstown.org/lakefront-concert-series/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, AUG. 11
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, AUG. 11

Art & Anatomy

14-19eventspage

ART OF ANATOMY – 2 p.m. Discover how artists and doctors have collaborated in the study of the human body over time and what they have learned from each other. Learn it all at this lecture by artist/MD Allison Hill-Edgar. Tickets, $15. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/Vanitas-Dissected

CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. A clarinet quintet performs “All-Mozart” concert. Christ Episcopal Church, 46 River St, Cooperstown. www.cooperstownmusicfest.org/mozart/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JULY 28
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, JULY 28

‘On Golden Pond’ At Foothills

14-19eventspage

MUSICAL – 8 p.m. Presenting “On Golden Pond” starring Carol Dean and Gary E. Stevens. Tickets, $10-15. The Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Call 607-432-5047 or visit foothillspac.org

FISH FRY BENEFIT – 5-7 p.m. Order haddock, coleslaw, fries, dessert, and coffee or tea. $10 to benefit the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. VFW, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Call (607)432-0494 or visit www.oneontany.com/VETSCLUB/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, DEC. 15
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, DEC. 15

Create Your Own Christmas Ornaments

14-19eventspage

3-D PRINTING – 10-11:30 a.m. Make a 3-D ornament in this workshop Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St, Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org

COOPERSTOWN SANTA – 3-6 p.m.Christmas Cottage, Pioneer Park, Cooperstown. Info, cooperstownchamber.org/santas-house-in-cooperstown

3-D PRINTING – 4:30-6 p.m. Make a 3-D ornament in this workshop Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St, Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org

MIND BODY SPIRIT – 6 p.m. Mind Body Spirit Collective meeting. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info, www.firstumc-oneonta.org

WRITERS SALON – 7:30-9 p.m. Kirby Olsen, contemporary of Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, will read from his poetry collection titled “Christmas at Rockefeller Center.” Book signing to follow. CANO, Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info, www.canoneonta.org/event/writers-salon-kirby-olson/

CLICK FOR MORE HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103