Rethinking the world isn’t an option

I just had to follow up the previous post featuring horrendous denialism over truth and evidence based science with a more pro-science quote:

If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option.

PZ Myers, biology professor (b. 9 Mar 1957)

#SCIENCE is based on EVIDENCE, making it inherently not #FAITH-based @startswithabang

Ethan Siegel has written a must-read article defending the scientific process in the Forbes science section (No, Science is Not Faith-Based). Siegel takes on an inflammatory and misinformed claim from Matt Emerson that science is faith-based (Wall Street Journal). Emerson’s claim was related to the recent detection of gravitational waves by LIGO. Siegel, a trained astrophysicist, clearly explains why the claim that science has anything to do with faith is completely non-scientific. Read the full-article here, my favorite parts below:

Faith, by definition, is the belief in something despite insufficient knowledge to be certain of its veracity.

Yet in every case, there are two key components that make the prediction scientific:

  1. The prediction, or the belief that the outcome can be accurately predicted, is predicated on the existence of quality evidence.
  2. As the evidence changes — as we obtain more, newer and better evidence — and as the full suite of evidence expands, our predictions, postdictions and entire conceptions of the Universe change along with it.

There is no such thing as a good scientist who isn’t willing to both base their scientific belief on the full suite of evidence available, nor is there such a thing as a good scientist who won’t revise their beliefs in the face of new evidence.

I have a family member that teases me because I always ask about the evidence behind claims, assertions, etc. I guess years spent on a science PhD and postdoc will engrain a desire for evidence in you, but that desire has nothing to do with faith…

#Science and #Religion – Pope’s encyclical supports the science of climate change and calls for revolution!

Religion and science… in harmony? The Pope and the Vatican have taken a stand with scientists against climate change. The encyclical released today will hopefully have huge impacts on the discussion surrounding climate change, but at the very least will make climate change a major topic of discussion in politics and religion. The church’s stand is already causing tension in US politics, with anti-science Republicans chastising the Pope for his stance.  While the Pope and Catholic Church have a history of supporting the science of man-made climate change, this makes climate change a part of the church’s official teaching. Very exciting times! And who thought religion, especially the Catholic Church, would be fighting alongside scientists??

Lots of commentary about this news all over the internet, here are a bunch from The Conversation!!

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#Science Quotable: Pope Francis believes in evolution and the big bang…. WHA?????? #MindBlown

When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything — but that is not so. He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.

God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.

Therefore the scientist, and above all the Christian scientist, must adopt the approach of posing questions regarding the future of humanity and of the earth, and, of being free and responsible, helping to prepare it and preserve it, to eliminate risks to the environment of both a natural and human nature. But, at the same time, the scientist must be motivated by the confidence that nature hides, in her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities for intelligence and freedom to discover and realize, to achieve the development that is in the plan of the creator.

Pope Francis at a plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Wow…. this is something I never thought I would write or post about…. Can’t wait to see what all the anti-evolution Christians have to say about this.

Anti-science Bryan Fischer: HIV doesn’t cause AIDS because Ebola… and shingles

I can’t even with these tweets. A most basic understanding of virology completely accounts for why these different viruses cause distinct diseases, and have different incubation times and disease progression. UGH!

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#Science Quotable: Bill Nye on the core curriculum taking down creationism

… my perception of what people don’t like about core curricula is that it forces them to learn standard stuff when they could be teaching their kids things that are inconsistent with what we know about science. I’m talking about people that want to teach creationism instead of biology. And that’s just bad. And the excuse or the justification is you don’t want the government telling you what to do. We all have to learn the alphabet everybody. I’m sorry, if we’re we’re going to have a successful society, it’s not an arbitrary arrangement of letters, you got to learn it. Sorry. And the same way if you’re asking me everybody’s got to learn a little bit of physics, chemistry, mathematics and you got to learn some evolution. You got to learn some biology. – Bill Nye for the Big Think

Ohio diocese is against #ALS #IceBucketChallenge for ALSA due to stem cell studies #ridiculous #headslap


Apparently not everyone is happy about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the more than 30 million dollars it raised for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Apparently, a Catholic diocese in Ohio disagrees with the fact that ALSA funds research involving embryonic stem cells

A Roman Catholic diocese in Ohio is discouraging its 113 schools from participating in the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association, saying the group’s funding of embryonic stem cell research is “in direct conflict with Catholic teaching.”

Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told the schools in a letter Tuesday to “immediately cease” any plans to raise funds for the association or to instead direct donations to another organization that combats ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig‘s disease that causes paralysis and almost certain death.

This is despite the fact that ALSA only funds a single embryonic stem cell study (which the church is against), and funds many many studies using adult stem cells (approved by the Catholic church). The money for funding the embryonic study is also specified from a single donor.

Carrie Munk, a spokeswoman for the ALS Association, said her group largely funds adult stem-cell research but does fund one study involving embryonic stem cells using money from one specific donor.

She said all donors to the ALS Association can stipulate where their money goes and can ask that it not pay for embryonic stem cell research.

I guess it is good that the diocese is encouraging donations to other ALS charities, but still not impressed.