by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 12:20 PM | Permalink
Bill Nye the Science Guy to “debate” Creation Museum founder Ken Ham
Bill Nye the Science Guy and Creation Museum founder Ken Ham will engage in a so-called “debate” tonight over evolution and
biblical creationism, even though the scientific evidence rules out any
possibility of Nye losing on the facts of evolution.
Although the scientific evidence is clear, evolution
remains a contentious conflict in the United States as religious fundamentalists struggle to reconcile their literal interpretations of religious texts with scientific facts.
The conflict between science and religion is nothing new.
In the late 19th century, John William Draper, an American scientist and
historian, brought the conflict to the mainstream with his book, History of the Conflict between Religion and Science.
Since then, the conflict has actually expanded to include anti-science pushback from political and business interests over a wide range of issues. Here are four
leading examples of today’s conflicts as they pit science against everyone else:
Evolution is essentially the foundation of modern biology.
It’s overwhelmingly supported by modern scientists. Evidence ranges from centuries of scientific observations
to similarities in life’s genetic and physiological
makeup to fossilized records.
“At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea
that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time,”
notes UC Berkeley’s evolution explainer. “Overwhelming evidence supports
this fact. Scientists continue to argue about details of evolution, but
the question of whether life has a long history or not was answered in
the affirmative at least two centuries ago.”
In the scientific world, it’s silly to dispute the entire
concept of evolution. Some, like Nye, question how the world can even
make sense to someone without evolution.
“Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution,” Nye told Big Think.Expect more arguments along those lines at Tuesday’s “debate,” which will be streamed live here. Global warming
Scientists widely agree global warming is occurring and man-made. In the latest report from the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
scientists said they are at least 95 percent certain that human actions
contribute to global warming.To understand global warming, it’s crucial to first differentiate weather and climate. Weather forecasts look at
short-term trends in specific areas, like the current local temperature
and whether stuff is falling out of the sky in Cincinnati. Climate
science looks at huge, long-term trends that span the globe, such as
global temperature trends over decades.When climate science is viewed through the correct
scientific lens, the results become practically impossible to reasonably
Vaccine safetyThe anti-vaccine movement claims vaccines can lead to
extreme complications like autism, asthma or diabetes, but the argument
is backed by no notable scientific evidence.In its broad analysis of vaccines and their adverse
effects, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found “few health problems are
caused by or clearly associated with vaccines.” Specifically, the study
ruled out connections between vaccines and autism, asthma and diabetes.That’s not to say vaccines are without side-effects. In some occasions, IOM found vaccines can cause allergic reactions,
seizures and fainting. But the data did not indicate serious, widespread
problems.Fortunately, both liberals and conservatives mostly reject
the idea that vaccines are dangerous. That’s good news for
everyone’s health. If most people doubted the science, the
fears could diminish the herd effect that’s so important
for preventing and combating epidemics.
Safety of genetically modified foods
Despite the sweeping scientific
consensus that genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) are safe, detractors continue rallying against any
genetic manipulation in foods.
Major scientific groups have extensively studied GMOs
during the decades the technology has been available. The consensus,
from groups including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the
American Medical Association and the Royal Society of Medicine, was
clear: Genetically modified foods aren’t any more harmful than
conventional foods.Even in the extremely anti-GMO Europe, an independent
European Commission report found, “The main conclusion to be drawn from
the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of
more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent
research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not
per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.”An even larger study from Italian scientists reached similar conclusions.In its defense, the anti-GMO movement typically points to a
study that initially claimed to find evidence of tumors in rats that
consumed genetically modified foods. But the scientific journal that
published the study, Food and Chemical Toxicology, actually retracted the findings
after deciding they were “inconclusive, and therefore do not
reach the threshold of publication.”Given the lack of evidence, it’s easy to understand why scientific organizations around the world seem so aligned against the anti-GMO movement:
by Danny Cross
Mitt Romney will visit the Cincinnati
area this week: tonight at a private fundraiser at the Hilton
Netherland Plaza, Thursday at a Carthage manufacturing comany and
this weekend to hang with Rep. John Boehner up north and probably
with Sen. Rob Portman at some point. President Obama plans to be
around soon, too.
Economists say Romney's job creation
claims need more specifics before they'll be believable. On the other
hand, Obama's American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act has saved or created 1.4 million to 3.3 million
jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and the American
Jobs Act would create 1.9 million, according to Moody's. From NPR:
+11.5 million — that's how many jobs
last September he would create in the first term of his
administration. But true to form, Romney never said how he would
create that many jobs, nor has any reputable economist backed up his
claim. "Nowhere in the 160 page plan could I find a stated job
creation number," wrote Rebecca Thiess of EPI. "The math
doesn't just appear to be fuzzy — it appears to be nonexistent."
Added David Madland of the Center for American Progress: "It is a plan from the Republican
candidate for president designed to maximize corporate profits. What
it doesn't do is help the middle class or create jobs." Even the
conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal called Romney's 59-point economic
tome "surprisingly timid and tactical considering our economic
Democrat Ron Barber won the
congressional seat left by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an
assassination attempt and resigned to focus on her recovery. The win
gives Democrats hope for taking control of the House in November.
California could become the first U.S.
State to require that genetically modified (GM) foods be labeled as
such on the package if a November measure, “The Right to Know
Genetically Engineered Food Act,” passes.
What makes the referendum in California different is that, for the
first time, voters and not politicians will be the ones to decide.
And this has the food industry worried. Understandably so, since only
one in four Americans is convinced that GMOs are "basically safe", according to a survey conducted by the Mellman Group, and a big majority wants
food containing GMOs to be labeled.
This is one of the few issues in America today that enjoys broad
bipartisan support: 89% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats want
genetically altered foods to be labeled, as they already are in 40
nations in Europe, in Brazil, and even in China. In 2007, then
candidate Obama latched onto this popular issue saying that he would
push for labeling – a promise the president has yet to keep.Retail sales were down for the second
month in May. Go buy something.
More than 2,000 proposals for new
internet suffixes have been proposed, including ".pizza,"
".space" and ".auto."
Scientists have figured out why woolly
mammoths went extinct: “Lots of reasons.”