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At risk is public trust in such scientific tools as statistical analysis, controlled laboratory and clinical experiments, the rational analysis of political oratory, and the study of history, anthropology and every other field dependent on disciplined, rational thought. Another weapon increasingly wielded by opponents of science, participants warned, is the frequent allegation that fraud in scientific inquiry has become so common that scientists cannot be trusted.

David L. Goodstein, a physicist and vice provost of the California Institute of Technology, said that although fraud existed, it was not nearly as common as critics of science contended. Goodstein, who has worked with Federal agencies in developing guidelines for defining misconduct in science, said that from to only 26 cases of misconduct came to light -- involving some three ten-thousandths of 1 percent of all scientists receiving research grants.

Flight from Science & Reason

All but five of those cases involved doctors or biologists, Dr. Goodstein said. Excessive legal constraints on scientists, he asserted, can "endanger the scientists' right to be wrong," hindering the scientific process. Although most medical schools discount the claims of chiropractors, faith healers and practitioners of "alternative medicine," many medical schools lack the courage to stand by their convictions, Dr. Paul Kurtz, a professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, contended that post-modernists of both the political left and right denied that scientific knowledge was possible.


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The result, he said, was an "erosion of the cognitive process which may undermine democracy. Americans have become fascinated by angels and "out of body" experiences, said Dr. It is in this environment that irrational ideas take hold, she said, asserting, "They tell us, for instance, that there is no death, only 'energy transformation,' and that science, born out of speculation, cannot help us understand the spiritual world.

Mack, are dangerous. They help to break down the standards of reason, and that can lead to such vicious doctrines as Aryan theories of race, and Lysenkoism. Lysenko, an agronomist who erroneously believed that acquired characteristics could be inherited, and nearly destroyed Soviet agriculture. Organizers of the meeting acknowledged that it was not structured to give enemies of science equal time; the latter have ample opportunity to express their positions on television talk shows, popular books and in the press, they said.

Among the writers sharply criticized at the meeting but not present were Shirley MacLaine, the actress who espouses the certainty of reincarnation; Dr. Mack, the author of the book about alien abductions; Dr.


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  4. Sandra Harding of the University of Delaware, who has argued that "value-free research is a delusion" and has compared traditional methods of science to "marital rape, the husband as scientist forcing nature to his wishes;" and Betty J. Volunteer EAA pilots even took up some amazed parents She began her pilot training in this class, and has pursued her studies with remarkable tenacity. Check with us if you'd like to know the rest of the story.

    Why do aviation addicts fly in the face of reason? | Letters | Science | The Guardian

    She accomplished this, got her driver's license, and turned 16 in the same month. In July of this year, she turned And as you can see, both she and the FAA examiner are pretty pleased with her work. Well done, Cammi! Most airlines have a computerized check-in system in the pilot's lounge. This gives the pilots the details of the flight, including the weather, the number of passengers on board and the other crew members who will be working. In order to keep everything in one place, pilots generally keep their flight papers and any other information in a large briefcase.

    In the time before take-off, a pilot reviews this information, works out the flight plan, files it with air traffic control and meets with the rest of the crew. Once the airplane has landed, the captain meets with the arriving flight crew to find out if they experienced any irregularities. The first officer performs a general inspection of the plane to make sure everything is in good order. After this walk-through, the pilots meet in the cockpit and make sure all of the instruments and controls are working properly.

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    Before takeoff, the captain must sign the flight release , a document attesting that the crew is fit and that the pilots have reviewed the flight information. While they're preparing for takeoff, the pilots will receive an up-to-date weather report and passenger count and a pre-departure clearance form. To make the paperwork easier, many cockpits are equipped with a built-in printer that receives information from the gate agents and the control tower.

    Explained: The Physics-Defying Flight of the Bumblebee

    When the paperwork is finished, the attendants secure all the doors and the captain gives the go-ahead for push back pushing the plane back from the gate so it can move onto the runway. Then, the pilots simply wait their turn and follow the air traffic controller's instructions for takeoff. In an uneventful flight, takeoff and landing require the most intensive piloting. In modern airliners, the pilot's main responsibilities are to monitor the automatic systems to make sure the plane is flying correctly and to alter the course as needed. In an emergency, of course, things can get a lot more hectic.

    All airline pilots have extensive training in dealing with the unexpected and keeping a cool head in precarious situations. Fortunately, it is only on rare occasions that pilots have to put this training to work, but they must be ready to leap into action at all times. The life of flight attendants -- the crew members who take care of the passengers -- is also filled with unpredictability.

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    In the next section, we'll look at the work that flight attendants do on a flight, and we'll find out what it takes to become a flight attendant. Pilots fly all over the world, and to do their job correctly, they must communicate with local air traffic controllers wherever they go. The only way for the system to work properly is if everybody involved can speak the same language.