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 German Lopez
City to add more cops, evolution “debate” today, Winburn considers State Senate race
Mayor John Cranley, Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and other city
officials yesterday announced a police plan to put more cops on the
streets, focus on “hot spots” of crime, restart the gang unit and reach
out to youth. Blackwell acknowledged more cops alone won’t solve or
prevent the city’s heightened levels of violent crimes and homicides,
but he said changing the level of enforcement through new tactics, such
as hot spot policing, could help. A lot of research supports hot spot
policing, although the practice can sometimes backfire, as “stop and
frisk” did in New York City, if it targets minorities.Bill Nye the Science Guy today will debate Creation Museum
owner Ken Ham. The debate will focus on evolution, which is
overwhelmingly supported by science, and biblical creationism, which has
no scientific evidence to support it. The debate will be streamed live
here.Republican Councilman Charlie Winburn is considering a run
for the Ohio Senate. Winburn would run in the heavily Democratic 9th
Senate District. So far, there are two likely Democratic opponents:
former Councilman Cecil Thomas and State Rep. Dale Mallory. The seat is
open because State Sen. Eric Kearney, the Democratic incumbent, is term
limited.Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel might
get two Democratic opponents in this year’s election: Sean Feeney, a
North College Hill resident who already filed, and potentially Paul
Komerak, a member of the Hamilton County Democratic Party’s executive
committee. If both Komerak and Feeney run, they could face off in a
Democratic primary.City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously
approved tax credits for Tom + Chee to entice the grilled cheese and
tomato soup chain to keep its headquarters downtown as it expands
nationally. Councilman Kevin Flynn questioned whether tax breaks
should be given so leniently, but other council members argued the tax
deals keep jobs in the city.City Council might structurally balance the budget and fix the underfunded pension system to stabilize Cincinnati’s bond rating.The Ohio Senate is still mulling over ways to repeal Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency standards. CityBeat covered the standards in greater detail here and here.Democratic attorney general candidate David Pepper wants
to reform how the state picks outside law firms to avoid appearances of
pay-to-play that have mired Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine. A
previous Dayton Daily News investigation found firms lobbying for state assignments contributed $1.3 million to DeWine’s campaign.Attorneys for the Ohio inmate next scheduled for execution
asked for a stay to avoid a “lingering death” similar to the 26-minute,
seemingly painful execution of Dennis McGuire. CityBeat covered McGuire’s execution and the concerns it raised in further detail here.Enrollment in Ohio’s public colleges and universities dropped by 2 percent in the latest fall semester.Ohio gas prices ticked up at the start of the week, but the lowest average was in Cincinnati.Scientists claim space-grown vegetables are safe to eat.Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy • News: @CityBeat_News • Music: @CityBeatMusic • German Lopez: @germanrlopezGot any news tips? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
0 Comments · Friday, August 2, 2013
Pity local editors who must decide whether a distant medical and scientific study or discovery is newsworthy.
by Jac Kern
Arianna Huffington, Uta Barth in town
Arianna Huffington is speaking as a part of SmartTalk ConnectedConversations tonight at the Aronoff Center. The media queen will discuss how she became "fearless in love, work and life" (a phrase taken from the title of her 2007 bestseller). Huffington has made her mark as an author of 13 books, co-founder of The Huffington Post, Republican-turned-liberal and even the voice of a character on The Cleveland Show. Get 'em, girl! Tickets to this insightful femme-fest are still available here.In quirkier event news, did you know there's a monthly meet-up of the Skeptical Society of Cincinnati where the group introduces a professional scientist to the public? Cincy Science Cafe is a casual gathering (usually at a bar) where the community can learn about interesting discoveries being made by area scientists. Tonight the crew meets at Glendale's Cock & Bull at 6 p.m. Go here for details.Gearing up for October's exciting FotoFocus exhibition, the organization presents a lecture tonight with Los Angeles-based photographer Uta Barth. Barth is known for her painterly photos, employing unconventional methods to create a whole new way of viewing photographs. Barth has been awarded with numerous grants and fellowships and has most recently exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago. She's a pretty big deal. The Cincinnati Art Museum hosts this FotoFocus lecture tonight at 7 p.m. Find more information here.Wednesdays are extra sexy at Northside Tavern — Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke takes over the back room this night each week. For those unfamiliar, STLBK is just how it sounds — the ultimate karaoke experience. You provide the vocals (and preferably hot dance moves) while a live band accompanies you. Be a Rock Star for, like, four minutes! Check out the group on Facebook. SexyTime for details and the song list. STLBK kicks off at 9 p.m.As always, there are plenty of live shows, theater productions and ongoing art exhibits to check out tonight. See our music blog and full To Do list for more.
by Danny Cross
If you're one of those people who enjoys relaxing in a public park, maybe eating a sandwich and enjoying the lush greenspace Cincinnati has grown proud of, that's all well and good. (Bring a blanket and some apples; enjoy yourself.) That is, until you get a little sleepy and want to lie down on the ground or a bench — that's illegal now. The Cincinnati Park Board yesterday approved a no-lying down rule across all of its 5,000 acres of park land, likely in response to ongoing Occupy Cincinnati lawsuits over the legality of closing the park at night. People who lie down in parks are now subject to $150 fines for the misdemeanor offense.
by Danny Cross
Occupy D.C. protesters built some type of structure in a park Saturday night, and police on Sunday notified them that they didn't have a permit and took it down, arresting dozens in the process. It was a pretty nice structure, though.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: 2011 Election
, 2012 Election
, Occupy Cincinnati
, Occupy Wall Street
, Social Justice
, County Commission
at 11:23 AM | Permalink
The Hamilton County Commissioners' stadium funding failures have caused County Auditor Dusty Rhodes to describe a “dream world” where politicians think their inaction doesn't affect anybody. Today's news that the stadium fund will be bankrupt by March without additional funding has not deterred Republican Chris Monzel and Democrat Todd Portune from giving property owners the tax credit that convinced them to vote for the 1996 sales tax increase."It would be the height of irresponsibly to commit funds they knew were not there," Rhodes said. "I've long criticized various governments for living in dream world. "This takes it to a whole new level," Rhodes said.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: Occupy Wall Street
, Occupy Cincinnati
, 2011 Election
, 2012 Election
, Social Justice
, President Obama
at 08:59 AM | Permalink
The Cincinnati Enquirer announced its endorsements over the weekend, and four incumbents were left thinking, “What the [expletive] did I do?!?” The current councilpersons who the paper decided not to endorse are Republican Wayne Lippert, who was appointed in March, and Republicans Leslie Ghiz and Charlie Winburn, along with Democrat Cecil Thomas. Ghiz was described as having a penchant for starting arguments that have been “personal, petty and nasty,” while Winburn's “unpredictable behavior” was noted along with Thomas' problems fully grasping budget and finance issues.
by Danny Cross
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney yesterday popped in on a local pro-Issue 2 and Issue 3 call center and then refused to publicly endorse either Republican initiative. “Yes” votes on Issues 2 and 3 would keep Senate Bill 5 and allow Ohioans to opt out of mandatory health care passed by Congress last year, respectively. From CNN:"I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues," Romney said, only after repeated questions from reporters. "Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party's efforts here." Both topics are tricky for the Romney campaign. He is no stranger to health insurance mandates, having passed one of his own in 2006 while governor of Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the Republican-backed union legislation remains deeply unpopular in the state, which is all but certain to be a swing state once again in 2012.Romney also doesn't want to make his tax returns public. Too modest.
by Danny Cross
Leave it to The Enquirer to publish a story analyzing local school district spending vs. academic success only to ignore the existence of private schools while drawing the conclusion that “a district that spends more doesn't necessarily produce higher test scores and graduation rates.” The story, titled “Big-spending districts net mixed academic grades,” doesn't include the qualifier “public school” or the possibility that local private schools spend even more per pupil than Indian Hill, Sycamore Township, Mariemont and Norwood, each of which spent $11,958 to $15,209 per student last year and earned Excellent or better ratings.