Thursday, March 5, 2015

The War on Science

Picture of a worker adjusting a diorama of a moon landing at the Kennedy Space CenterThis month’s (March 2015) National Geographic cover article is titled “The War on Science.”  I saw a copy in a doctor’s waiting room and later bought a copy to finish reading the article.  You see, in my book, "Does the Church Really Have Good News", I make the point that God and science are not at odds and I wanted to see who is at war with science and on what grounds.  I was also hoping to get some of the scientific facts of the subjects of the supposed war: Climate Change, Evolution, The Moon Landing, Vaccinations, and Genetically Modified Food.

As it turns out, the author, Washington Post Science Writer, Joel Achenbach, was more interested in how people decide what to believe than in arguing the points of disagreement.  That is a fair position for him to take in the article, just not what I had expected, especially from National Geographic.

I have been particularly interested in the evidence for global warming and for the assertion that it is being caused by human activity.  I read a lot about the consensus of scientists on the matter, but I never see any facts to support their agreement.  The only fact Achenbach had in this article was that the earth’s surface temperature has risen 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 150 years.  That’s 10 degrees every thousand years.  Unless there is something else going on (and maybe there is, like melting the ice caps) that hardly seems enough for all the hype.

Achenbach’s main point was that we tend to take our positions based on our feelings and on what our group of friends and family believe more so than on a logical examination of the facts, and that is true of scientists as well as disbelievers of science.  “We still have a need to fit in,” he asserts and that need trumps science.  Even scientists are very reluctant to take a position contrary to that of the bulk of their peers.  And disbelievers don’t want to go against the beliefs of the bulk of their peers either.  There is much more to the article and it is worth the $5.99 cover price for the magazine.  

Meanwhile, for more on the lack of disagreement between God and science see "Does the Church Really Have Good News?"

What facts do you have about global warming?

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