Onward, science soldiers, marching off to war -- to fight ‘alternative’ facts
After just a month of the reign of King Donald the First, about 1,800 of our top scientists registered their frustration with the unscientific mess in the White House and Congress by publicly protesting the administration’s actions in Boston’s historic Copley Square on Sunday, February 18.
Most of the protesters were members attending the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “The Rally to Stand Up for Science” was organized by the Natural History Museum in Boston, Climate Truth.org, The Union of Concerned Scientists, and a number of other scientific groups.
Protesters wore lab coats and carried such signs as “Make America Smart Again,” “Objective Reality Exists,” and “Poetry Nerds for Science.” This protest was so successful, a larger March for Science is being planned for April 22 on Earth Day, supported by 800,000 listed as Facebook members.
In 1632, scientist and astronomer Galileo Gallelei stated the purpose of science: “To investigate the constitution of the universe is one of the greatest and noblest problems in nature.”
Galileo had determined the Earth and other planets actually revolved around the sun instead of everything orbiting around the Earth. He published his findings in his book “Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems” and was immediately charged with heresy by the Vatican and brought before the Inquisition, the Roman Catholic Church’s KGB, and threatened with imprisonment and execution by burning at the stake.
He did recant to a certain extent, but he was sentenced to house arrest and all of his books were banned. Galileo had watched his friend and fellow scientist Giordano Bruno, only six years his senior, burn at the stake in 1600 for having the same beliefs.
Bruno was a firebrand Dominican friar, philosopher, and scientist who also believed the Earth revolved around the sun. He was tried for heresy by the Catholic Inquisition because he didn’t believe several core doctrines of the Vatican. He was sentenced to death at the stake—after he had his tongue cut out for not recanting. He later gained fame by being named a martyr for science by 18th and 19th Century scientists.
Pope John Paul II, one of the many conservative popes who have occupied the Vatican, finally admitted in October, 1992 that Copernicus, Bruno, and Galileo were finally right about the sun and the Earth, over 360 years after Galileo’s trial--and almost 400 years after Bruno was made voiceless and burned to death.
Why have Republicans rejected science since Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency?
In order for Republicans to stay in power, they need the votes of those who believe the Earth is flat, that it’s only about 10,000 years old, that humans and dinosaurs lived together on earth in the old days, and that we will soon find Noah’s Ark.
They have another reason. It’s the burning desire to collect almighty dollars. Republicans and a few oil- and coal-state Democrats have been purchased on a long-term instalment plan by the fossil fuel industry. The industry promises to pump and burn every gallon of crude oil before we go to alternative energies.
King Donald got the votes of many Republicans, promising to open up federal lands, seashores, Arctic and Antarctic fields, fracked oil fields, and dormant coal fields all across the land to constant drilling and mining.
He also, with his eighth-grade physical science and geography skills, pontificated that climate change was a hoax, repeating the exhortations of that famous scientist Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who threw a snowball on the floor of the Senate, saying global warming was a hoax.
Republicans have slowly changed their minds about the environment since the Nixon EPA put out fires in the rivers and cleaned up some completely dead lakes and rivers. They continued to get dumb and dumber, resulting in the administration of George W. Bush issuing orders that seven different federal agencies that dealt with environmental and energy problems had to banish the term “global warming” from all communications. Poor George. He wasn’t dumb. He just never worked hard enough to know anything.
King Donald appointed a climate change denier named Myron Ebell as head of the transition team for the EPA, who called environmentalists “the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world.” The Senate has now approved Scott Pruitt from the oil state of Oklahoma as head of the EPA. He has sued the EPA about a dozen times over environmental issues and has vowed to shut the agency down.
Why not have an auto mechanic do your root canal?
Science can give you terrible answers. It can confirm you have cancer. It can tell you the Great Barrier coral reef you depend on for the production of fish will be dead by 2030. Some scientists told NASA engineers that the rocket sending the shuttle Challenger into space was going to blow up because of icy rings.
Science can also give terrific answers. No, you don’t have prostate cancer. Yes, you are pregnant. That volcano might blow in three or four days. That hurricane is going to miss us by 30 miles. But we have the ignorant and uneducated or the political con men who attempt to get votes by saying “I’m not a scientist.”
King Donald, the Klu Klux Klan’s “Science Guy,” is now linking vaccines to children’s autism although science has discredited that linkage for years. There is an anti-vaccine crowd that believes a 20-year-old study authenticates their concern. But the study has been proved a fraud because much of the data in the British study was falsified.
Public health experts and the scientists who support them estimate that vaccines save the lives of 2.5 million children in the world every year. Because of vaccinations highly contagious measles was eliminated in the U.S. over 15 years ago.
But it returned in spades to Texas recently because parents didn’t vaccinate their children. The world has shrunk so much due to air travel that a disease can go around the world in a day or so. Scientists say that over 90% of a population must be vaccinated to prevent an epidemic.
Wealthy Texas parents who pay $15,000 to send a child to private schools seem particularly vulnerable to the vaccine-autism link. The private Waldorf School in Austin has only a 60% vaccination record. Other Texas private schools average about 20% unvaccinated, although the state requires all students to have seven vaccinations except for personal exemptions. An organization called Vaccine Choice has scared people with very bad science.
King Donald: ‘We are going to trade one new regulation for two old ones’
The following segment from Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle” should remind everyone when they eat a hotdog or bratwurst why his revelation brought on early regulations for the meatpacking industry:
“There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms, and the water from leaky roofs would drop over it, and thousands of rats would race about it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats are nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then the rats, bread, and meat would go into the meat hoppers together.” Bon appetit.
Sinclair spent seven weeks in 1904 working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards, gathering scientific evidence for his book. He first published the book in serial form in a Chicago newspaper, and then Doubleday published it in book form in 1906.
The public was so outraged by his exposure of health violations and the dangerous unsanitary practices of the industry Congress immediately passed the Meat Inspection Act.
At the same time Sinclair wrote about the dangerous work and the exploited lives of European immigrants who worked in both the stockyards and the meatpacking plants. What two regulations would you drop for a new one under these conditions?
An old Illinois coal miner said this about “burdensome” regulations: “Every regulation in the coal industry was passed after somebody died.” The same is true of construction and manufacturing. Many workers are alive today because of regulations written and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) -- after somebody died.
We still kill about 40,000 a year in vehicle accidents, but how many would it be without regulations established over the last 120 years? Placement of gas tanks….Seat belts….Air bags…Anti-lock brakes.
The raw milk crowd has been pretty quiet lately but I remember when some Minnesota farmers were caught selling unpasteurized milk to true believers that thought it helped children with asthma and other diseases.
Pasteurization has been used for over 100 years to kill bacteria such as salmonella, e. coli, brucella, and listeria.
Practically every agency in the country dealing with food such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Department of Agriculture have regulations about the sale of raw milk and foods made with raw milk. It can be very harmful to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.
This newly discovered fossil may be the ancestor of most of our politicians
Scientists have discovered a 540-million-year-old fossil in Shaanxi Province in China that may be the oldest member of a large group of animals known as deuterostomes. This group contains vertebrates such as humans.
The animal has a sack-like, globular body and a large mouth. The mouth has folds which allowed it to swallow rather large prey that lived with it on the seabed.
Imran Rahman, a scientist at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, says: ”These are really interesting and to my mind surprising fossils. They have the potential to greatly improve our understanding of the early evolution of deuterostomes, which is the major group to which vertebrates--including humans—belong, so they are obviously going to be important going forwards for understanding our evolutionary history.”
But the most intriguing aspect of this rather tiny large-mouthed animal is that it apparently has no anus to dispose of waste products from the prey it eats. Scientists are continuing to study its relationship to the early stages of our evolution.
I thought immediately that Saccorhytus Coronarious, the name of our early ancestor, may be the predecessor of some of our present day politicians who have big mouths and no way of getting rid of the wastes in their body except by osmosis. And they are so full of waste. King Donald comes to mind. But, excuse me, I’m not a scientist.
January 17th 2018
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