Some thoughts on the New York Times Article decrying modern anti-science views…


“…I have to remind myself that there’s a lot about modernity that’s awesome, too– the Internet, for starters, is vastly cooler and weirder and more fascinating than anything I would’ve dreamed of as a naive undergrad. And that there were a lot of things that sucked in the past– yeah, it sucks that powerful right-wing politicians make hay by claiming climate change is a “hoax,” but really, how much different are they than, say, James Watt back in the 80′s? Reagan asserting that trees cause pollution? (To pull a couple of examples from childhood memories.) When I was a kid, you could still find people denouncing the phaseout of leaded gasoline as a form of fascism (well, communism, because it was the Cold War, but one of those European -isms), and that didn’t fly in the face of business interests anywhere near as much as climate change does.

So, is science really in decline, losing the culture wars? When I can step back and look at it calmly, I have a hard time saying that it is. Yeah, we’re on the short end of a lot of rhetoric, but at the same time, a lot of things are trending the right way. More people are paying attention to healthy eating and responsible environmental practices, smoking in public is way less acceptable than it was. You see more efficient cars, and lights, and appliances of all sorts coming around and getting adopted. Home solar panels have gone from being a nutty hippie affectation to a home improvement service advertised on sports talk radio. And the picture’s even better at the level of basic science– the list of stuff that we routinely do now that was thought to be impossible when I was a kid is just mind-blowing. Mars rovers! Extra-solar planets! Feathered dinosaurs! Ten-meter atom interferometers!”

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GMOAnswers – Your Questions on Health and Safety of GM Food and Crops

GMOAnswers – Your Questions on Health and Safety of GM Food and Crops.


– an industry sponsored site about GMOs

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During my unde…

During my undergraduate studies I was shocked at the low opinion some of my professors had of the astronomer Carl Sagan. For me his efforts to popularize science were an inspiration, but for them such “outreach” was a diversion. That view makes no sense today.

The enthusiasm and generous spirit that Mr. Sagan used to advocate for science now must inspire all of us. There are science Twitter feeds and blogs to run, citywide science festivals and high school science fairs that need input. For the civic-minded nonscientists there are school board curriculum meetings and long-term climate response plans that cry out for the participation of informed citizens. And for every parent and grandparent there is the opportunity to make a few more trips to the science museum with your children.

From a recent New York Times editorial by a college professor.

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August 24, 2013 · 6:14 pm