Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Scientific American - November 2016 Issue

The November 2016 issue of Scientific American is a must read for several reasons.  For starters, there is an excellent feature article on entangled black holes and what that means for astronomy.  There's also a very interesting article on the future of fusion reactors on Earth as a source of energy.  These, however, are not the reason I write about it today.  There is also a wonderful article that mentions several "things we know to be true."  These are areas of scientific research in which the science is extremely clear, yet is still controversial in the United States.  The five discussed in this issue are:

  • Evolution is the only reasonable explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.
  • Homeopathy has no basis in science.
  • Climate change conspiracy theories are ludicrous.
  • Vaccines do not cause autism.
  • No credible evidence of alien visitation exists.
A few others are mentioned in passing in the article but the above are discussed in detail.  I've written about a few of these on this blog in the past, but I'm going to re-visit these.  Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to write about each of the five above, including a few of the others mentioned in passing in the magazine, and discuss the role they've played in my life and the raising of my kids.  

It's hard to believe that in 2016 science is ignored by much of society.  Ideas debunked decades and centuries ago have come back to play a prominent role in the everyday lives of people.  Why?  There's no clear answer to this, but studies have shown that explaining the science of a misconception to those believing the misconception often hardens one's views of the misconception.  That is simply amazing and makes the task of promoting real science even more difficult.  It's a task, however, that must be undertaken to further improve our lives.  

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