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Dave Pruett
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Dave Pruett, a former NASA researcher and computational scientist, is emeritus professor of mathematics at James Madison University and the author of Reason & Wonder (Praeger, 2012).

Entries by Dave Pruett

The Demise of American Democracy and the 2016 Election

(2) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 9:46 AM

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On this Americans agree: There's too much money in politics, and it's eroding our democracy.

A recent poll (New York Times, June 2, 2015) reveals 85 percent of Americans believe we must either make "fundamental changes" or "completely rebuild" how campaigns...

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Francis' Momentous Encyclical: On Care for Our Common Home

(1) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 1:45 PM

"We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are between stories." -- Father Thomas Berry

I'm not Catholic. Nevertheless, fond of this pope, I've eagerly awaited the release of Laudato Si', Francis' encyclical on ecology and climate. Immediately after its June 18 release,...

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Pope Francis' Integral Ecology

(13) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 10:40 AM

"The age of nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth." -- Teilhard de Chardin

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There's a new term being bandied about, and it's high time we paid heed: integral ecology.

Whenever...

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The Fallacy in the Culture Wars: The Individual vs. the Collective

(3) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 2:37 PM

"Nothing is precious except that part of you which is in other people, and that part of others which is in you. Up there, on high, everything is one." -- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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At the root of the culture wars lies a...

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A Multinational Trojan Horse: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

(7) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 12:59 PM

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, ... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
-- James Madison in The Federalist Papers.

2015-05-05-1430860012-7431421-trojanhorse.jpg (Image source: Wikimedia)

You don't have to know much about the "trade"...

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The Great Transition

(38) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 3:29 PM

"The Stone Age came to an end not for a lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil." -- Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former Saudi Arabian Minister of Oil, 2000

2015-03-18-1426721285-2413800-solar_array.jpg(The author's home with new solar array.)
...
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Beyond Reason

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 11:34 AM

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Sometimes the universe surprises you.

A few months ago, I received an email from independent filmmaker Frank Huguenard. Having read some of my posts on the science of consciousness, Frank wanted to know if I'd consider being interviewed for a film on that...

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The Greater Danger: Precipice or Slippery Slope?

(23) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 4:23 PM

2015-03-08-1425822352-320536-Crabtree_Falls.jpgLower Crabtree Falls, Virginia, National Forest Service image

I'm a boomer, so I missed the greatest existential crisis of the 20th Century: The Second World War. My Dad, however, was in the thick of it, helping mop up after the Battle of the Bulge.

...
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Global Warming or Climate Chaos: What's in a Name?

(45) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 4:04 PM

This winter has set record lows in many states, a fact the editor of our conservative local newspaper, and others of his ilk, must be relishing. "There's no global warming," I can imagine him crowing. "It's all a liberal hoax." Such distorted logic reveals either an appalling ignorance of the...

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A Party of Judases

(16) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 3:31 PM

"I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists -- that we don't have enough information to act [on climate change]. Well, I'm not a scientist, either. But you know what? I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at...
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Global Divestment Comes of Age

(1) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 3:11 PM

"It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future. To serve as custodians of creation is not an empty title; it requires that we act, and with all the urgency this dire situation demands." -- Desmond Tutu

2015-01-22-oxford_divest.jpg(Oxford Fossil Free Future...
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What Have We Become?

(3) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 5:08 PM

"A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil that good may come of it." -- William Penn

The iconic images of recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri -- after the police shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen -- have left Americans of all...

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What Ferguson Says About America

(25) Comments | Posted December 7, 2014 | 3:59 PM

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy, 1962

One might think that, by turning Martin Luther King, Jr., into a cultural icon and electing a black president, America has bid farewell to its racist past. Recent events in Ferguson, MO, New York,...

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A Line in the Tar Sands: Naomi Klein on the Climate

(9) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 12:41 PM

"The House [of Representatives] has now signed our death warrants and the death warrants of our children and grandchildren. ... We are a sovereign nation, and we are not being treated as such. We will close our reservation borders to Keystone XL. Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war...

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The GOP Simultaneously Cries 'Wolf' and 'The Sky Is Falling'

(59) Comments | Posted October 25, 2014 | 11:13 AM

Despicable. That's the only word for it.

I refer to the recent official email "Responding to the Ebola Crisis" of October 17 from my congressional representative, Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia's 6th District.

It begins by stating that "Ebola now spreading in the United States is of extreme concern [emphasis added]."...

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Toward a Post-Materialistic Science

(67) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 12:39 PM

The latest issue of Explore -- the Journal of Science and Healing -- contains a bombshell of an essay. It's titled "Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science," and it could be to science what Luther's 95 Theses were to religion.

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"Eye of...
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Tipping Point: The People's Climate March

(9) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 7:48 AM

"If the planet dies, all causes are lost causes." -- Anonymous

Humanity's fate hangs on a tight race between two tipping points: a scientific one and a cognitive one.

Scientists use the term "tipping point" to refer to a runaway feedback loop that, when triggered, abruptly and irreversibly changes...

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When Faith and Facts Collide

(339) Comments | Posted August 24, 2014 | 9:41 PM

"... if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in man-made global warming ... You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe than man controls something he can't create." -- Rush Limbaugh

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NASA satellite image of Superstorm Sandy

Conflict...

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Watergate: American Democracy's Finest Hour

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 4:05 PM

"Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here." -- Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert

When was NASA's finest hour? Most would say, "The Apollo moon landing."

As a bit of an insider, I have a different take. NASA's finest hour, hands down, was the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.

Two and one-third...

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Occupy the Tea Party

(1) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 12:41 PM

At first blush, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street appear as bookends: opposing grass-roots movements on the political right and left, respectively. At second blush, the Tea Party seems the more successful. In the 2010 mid-term elections, one-third of Tea Party-backed candidates won, reclaiming the House for Republicans. And...

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