Ben Carson has traded in his #SCIENCE credentials for ANTI-SCIENCE credentials. And become the punchline for a neurosurgeon joke…

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You might assume that a famous neurosurgeon would be well informed on medical and scientific topics. But if you assume this about potential Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson, you would be horribly wrong. Check out previous CauseScience posts featuring anti-science statements from Ben Carson.

A terrific article this week in The New Yorker offers an in-depth analysis of recent anti-science delusions from Ben Carson written by Lawrence Krauss (Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University). Carson’s anti-science statements range from questioning the science behind the Big Bang theory, to attributing the theory of evolution to satan. See the full article for a summary of Carson’s statements, as well as why they are more than just anti-science.

Many people assume that, as a successful surgeon, he (Carson) has a solid knowledge of technical, medical, and scientific issues.

It is one thing to simply assert that you don’t choose to believe the science, in spite of a mountain of data supporting it. It’s another to mask your ignorance in such a disingenuous way, by using pseudo-scientific, emotion-laden arguments and trading on your professional credentials. Surely this quality, which reflects either self-delusion or, worse still, a willingness to intentionally deceive others, is of great concern when someone is vying for control of the nuclear red button.

It appears that Ben Carson is using tired anti-science talking points to support his twisted religious view of the world, proving that he has either lost touch with science, or is choosing to part ways with science. For more actual science surrounding the Big Bang Theory and thermodynamics, check out this great RadioLab – Ben Carson could definitely benefit from listening to it!

Carson’s recent anti-science statements along with anti-muslim comments from Carson, have led to many jokes, be sure not to miss this hilarious Borowitz Report (also in the New Yorker)!!

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Vaccine refresher for Republican candidates – Jessie Schanzle @US_Conversation

Vaccines back in the headlines – here’s what the experts say

Jessie Schanzle, The Conversation

September 16th’s Republican debate put vaccines back in the headlines, when Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, was asked to comment on Donald Trump’s statements linking vaccinations to autism. Carson said:

We have extremely well-documented proof that there is no autism associated with vaccinations, but it is true that we’re giving way too many in way too short a time and a lot of pediatricians recognize that.

This has sparked a flurry of reminders from physicians, scientists and others that vaccines are safe and that vaccines do not cause autism.

This is a discussion that we have covered again and again and again at The Conversation.

Yet these messages don’t seem to have counteracted misinformation about vaccines. That’s because these explanations often repeat the very falsehoods they are trying to correct. As Norbert Schwarz and Eryn Newman from the University of Southern California write:

[M]edia reports that intend to correct false information can have the unfortunate effect of increasing its acceptance. Using anecdotes and images makes false information easier to imagine – and by highlighting disagreement, they distort the amount of consensus that actually exists.

A better strategy, they say, is to stick to the facts.

Kristin S Hendrix, a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, examined the research on parent-provider conversation about vaccines. She writes:

What is clear from existing research is that respectful, tailored communications and recommendations to immunize coming directly from the health-care provider are associated with increased vaccination uptake.

Before the measles vaccine was introduced in the US in the 1960s, we thought of measles as a “mild” illness, even though it killed 400-500 Americans a year. Today, suggesting that measles is benign is controversial. And that is because vaccines change how we think about the disease they prevent. As Emory historian Elena Conis writes:

Vaccines shine a spotlight on their target infections and, in time, those infections – no matter how “common” or relatively unimportant they may have seemed before – become known for their rare and serious complications and defined by the urgency of their prevention.

Marcel Salathé, now a professor at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, points out everyone who can be vaccinated, should be vaccinated, to help protect those who are too young or too ill to receive the vaccine. Tony Yang, a professor of health administration at George Mason University, looked at the impact vaccine exemption polices have on outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. And Michael Mina, an MD/PhD candidate at Emory, explained how the introduction of the measles vaccine in Europe prevented deaths from other diseases.

Speaking of other diseases, just over a year ago, news that a handful of people in the United States had contracted Ebola was dominating the headlines. William Moss, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, pointed out that Americans should worry less about Ebola and more about the measles.

The Conversation

Jessie Schanzle, Editor, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Liquid Water confirmed on Mars!! #NASA

From NASA today:

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times.

“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water — albeit briny — is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”

These downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water. The new findings of hydrated salts on the slopes point to what that relationship may be to these dark features. The hydrated salts would lower the freezing point of a liquid brine, just as salt on roads here on Earth causes ice and snow to melt more rapidly. Scientists say it’s likely a shallow subsurface flow, with enough water wicking to the surface to explain the darkening.

Garni crater on Mars

Dark narrow streaks called recurring slope lineae emanating out of the walls of Garni crater on Mars. The dark streaks here are up to few hundred meters in length. They are hypothesized to be formed by flow of briny liquid water on Mars. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (RED) image (ESP_031059_1685) on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the same site produced by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (University of Arizona). Vertical exaggeration is 1.5. Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

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Supermoon Lunar Eclipse! #OutOfThisWorld

Last night brought the combination of a supermoon (the closest full moon of the year) with a lunar eclipse. The result? A “blood moon” known for it’s amazing color. Hopefully some of you got to check it out because the next time this will happen again will be in 2033! If not, here are some stunning images from around the world!

Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Near Strong City, Kansas, USA. Photograph: Travis Heying/AP

Near Strong City, Kansas, USA.
Photograph: Travis Heying/AP

Solana Beach, California, USA. Photograph: Mike Blake/REUTERS

Solana Beach, California, USA.
Photograph: Mike Blake/REUTERS

Twickenham, London, England. Photograph: Dan Wooler/REX Shutterstock/Dan Wooler/REX Shutterstock

Twickenham, London, England.
Photograph: Dan Wooler/REX Shutterstock/Dan Wooler/REX Shutterstock

Brighton, in southern England. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Brighton, in southern England.
Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters