Archive for the ‘science-ish’ Category

8e88a0bd632378b6e2f40eb147606c61From Dan Rather:

I think we should erect a monument built from materials impervious to the elements and list the names of all the elected officials and others in positions of power today in the United States who refuse to stand with the science on climate change.

We can put this monument on the coast – say off Miami – and have its base equal to the lapping waves of high tide. As sea levels rise, the monument will begin to be submerged, at increasingly greater depths. It will become a symbol of the cynicism, stupidity, and folly of our age. And it will be important for future generations to know who was responsible for this failure of action and imagination as this global crisis crescendoed. When I see Donald Trump cast doubt on climate change, I am deeply disappointed. When I see him appoint climate change deniers to key posts in his cabinet, I am deeply worried. When I see those in the scientific community and elsewhere pushing back, I am determined to bring these voices of reason to light.

Science is not a conclusion. It’s a process. It’s also about the real world. Not a post-truth world. If you’re wrong as a scientist, it’s hard to keep that hidden for very long because others will do an experiment and show the limitations of your earlier conclusions.

All these climate change deniers are denigrating the very nature of scientific discovery. It’s the same enterprise that, in biological research, leads to the cures these climate deniers plead from their doctors, or the geological research that finds and extracts the raw materials that power these climate deniers’ lives, or the physics that makes these climate deniers’ modern technology work.

To cherry pick the science you like is to show you really don’t understand much of anything. That is your right. But when it affects my life, that of my family, the future direction of my country, and the health of our planet, than the ignorance is far from harmless. The world must remember what is happening here and perhaps the judgement of history might induce some to the action we so desperately need.

Just so we are clear on the kind of thing we’re up against.

donald-trump-0a5073b2-77c0-4619-bc3a-caea67cdcb45
Trump chose Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Scott hates the EPA and has been a vocal opponent of the EPA. Scott doesn’t believe in climate change. Scott is a huge supporter of and in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry.

 
Trump chose Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education. Betsy doesn’t like public schools and has worked to defund them in Michigan. Detroit schools are the lowest performing among big city schools in the country, and over the last 15 years the entire state of Michigan has declined when it comes to student performance, based in part on defunding and the deregulation of charter schools under Betsy.

 
Trump named Pablo Escobar to the post of Drug Czar. Pablo is a Columbian drug overlord who trafficked mainly in cocaine and was responsible for thousands of murders. Also, he’s dead.

 
That last one was fake news. But the first two are real. Be vigilant. These are not normal times.

yay! measles are FUN!

Posted: February 9, 2015 in bad science, science-ish

Melanie’s Marvelous Measles was written to convince children and their parents that it’s ok to not get vaccinated.

enhanced-23683-1423404506-1

Here’s the author describing her book:

Melanie’s Marvelous Measles was written to educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from the naturally and successfully. Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all disases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccines, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialised countries, these diseases are quite benign, and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body.

Having raised three children vaccine-free and childhood disease-free, I have experienced many times when my children’s vaccinated peers succumb to the childhood diseases they were vaccinated against. Surprisingly, there were times when my unvaccinated children were blamed for their peers’ sickess. Something which is just not possible when they didn’t have the diseases at all.

The review for this book on Amazon have been amazing!

This reviewer was disappointed that there was no Braille version.

enhanced-23718-1423404657-3

 

This reviewer was grateful the author provided them with an easy way to explain to their kids why they should get incredibly dangerous diseases.

enhanced-19268-1423404796-7

This carpenter was grateful for the extra work the book gave her.

enhanced-19273-1423404819-4

This reviewer suggested more books by the same author.

enhanced-11489-1423404981-6

Examples of true stuff
  • 10309192_380985722026469_5178060331706932765_nVaccines do not cause autism or mental retardation.  Proven fact.
  • The climate is warming up.  Fact.
  • Human activity is contributing to the warming of the climate.  Fact.
  • Most living creatures (including humans) will suffer in many, many ways as the climate warms.  Duh.
  • The earth is not 6,000-10,000 years old.  It is around 4.5 billion years old.  Regardless of how many “generations” are listed in your religion’s holy book.
  • Certain economic policies, usually associated with more liberal politicians, tend to improve our economy.  Certain other economic policies, usually associated with more conservative politicians, tend to harm our economy.
  • Rape really is a thing. Benghazi really wasn’t. Our Constitution was not based on the Bible. Most homosexuals didn’t “choose” their sexuality. These things are just true, despite the stuff that Fox “News” bombards its viewers with.

10940990_10205877078512706_7880031694690054037_nWhat I find in my work with people is that a lot of folks, instead of seeking truth, want reassurance that what they already believe is true.

What science has recently revealed, also, is that some brains are more geared toward allowing new facts to adjust their belief system, while other brains are geared toward defending against changes in beliefs by rejecting facts.

What if we took our lead from the Enlightenment thinkers and based our opinions on facts, instead of on feelings, superstitions, ancient books, left or right-leaning news stations or paid-for-by-corporations-politicians?

10801490_841598792528350_6274072335919502555_n

 

 

 

 

 

The “culture wars” have been going on since before the founding of America – the Civil War, women’s suffrage, prohibition, desegregation/civil rights, religion in school, voting rights, abortion/reproCulture-Wars-Webductive rights, science versus faith, gay rights and more. In each of these there is/was a battle between tradition/faith (always in part justified by the Bible and conservative theology) and rationality/social progress. It’s a constant struggle over the meaning of America.

For those of you out there who didn’t grow up in the evangelical culture, you may not be aware of this.  

HarrisMiracleDid you know that there are many, many fundamentalist Christians who believe that God is basically pulling the wool over our eyes, planting phony evidence for carbon-dated fossils, geological formations, DNA-based evolutionary relationships, and redshifts from galaxies that indicate that they are far older than the 6,000 years of existence accounted for by biblical creation?

Seriously.  The belief is that God, in his infinite wisdom, decided to not only not provide a stitch of evidence for the propositions laid out in his special book –  he also decided to plant evidence that actually contradicts these assertions.

And why does this make my stomach a little queazy?  It’s because this kind of thinking – that what we can see and experience and prove and test (let’s call this “science”) takes a back seat to what people want to believe – can lead to tragedy, destruction and death.  Does that sound over the top?  Maybe.

But here’s what’s happening:  Greedy corporate interests and unscrupulous politicians are exploiting the anti-science attitudes imbedded in popular religion in order to suppress scientific results on issues of global importance – issues that threaten the generations of humanity that will follow ours.  And then people get to do the “I don’t want to believe in human-induced climate changimages-301e, so I don’t” thing, and get away with it…to the detriment of our planet and to our descendants.  Their religion, egged on by corporations who benefit financially from destroying our planet, allows them to ignore unequivocal evidence, put their hands over their ears and shout “la, la, la, la, la, la, la – I can’t hear you!” while the world burns up.  This makes my stomach feel a little oozie.

Plot idea: 97% of the world’s scientists contrive an environmental doomsday crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires and oil companies.

climate_scan_consesus