Americans vs. Scientists

A study published in the journal Science last week found that Americans are seriously misinformed when it comes to scientific topics like evolution, the safety of GM foods and vaccinations, as well as humanity’s role in climate change. The survey, jointly conducted by the Pew Research Center and American Association for the Advancement of Science, compared opinions about scientific matters of the public and AAAS’ member scientists:

The results are…discouraging. Thirty-one percent of Americans believe that humans have been in “their present form” since their creation, while 24 percent believe that humans evolved but under the guidance of some God-like figure. Only 2 percent of AAAS scientists do not believe in evolution (which is scary in and of itself).

The numbers were even worse when it came to climate change. Only half of the those surveyed agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change view that climate change is mostly driven by human activity. Nearly half said there was either no good evidence for global warming, or that the recent warming of the Earth was due to natural climate variability.

Alan Leshner, the CEO of AAAS and Executive Publisher of Science said:

“There is a disconnect between the way the public perceives science and the way that scientists see science. Scientists need to do something to turn this around.”

Personally, I would place the majority of the blame on the media, with their bias toward appearing neutral instead of being objective when it comes to matters of scientific consensus, rather than on the scientists themselves.

Shocking Discovery: Study Finds Men Want Women in Their Mid-20s

The great Wooderson once said that what he loved about high school girls was that as he got older they stayed the same age. Given the fondness with which this statement-of-purpose is regarded by an entire generation of American men, it should give you some idea that guys are, at their core, simple, stupid creatures. We’re basically dogs taught to speak, walk upright and not shit on the floor (most of the time).

When it comes to sex in particular there’s not a whole lot going on between our ears that wasn’t put there by thousands of years of evolution. And yet every once in a while some literal genius comes along and spends time and money on a study meant to decode us like there’s an elegant fibonacci spiral at our core rather than a rusty hamster wheel and an open bag of three-week-old Funyuns.

The latest in these largely worthless forays into the mind and penis of the human male is a study conducted by the Academy of Finland, a governmental body that funds research in the public interest. Scientists there “discovered” that heterosexual men, no matter their age, are hardwired to want to have sex with the same type of woman, namely women in their mid-20s.

Basically, if you’re a 17-year-old guy, you want to do it with an older woman (a woman in her mid-20s) and if you’re a 47-year-old guy, you want to do it with a younger woman (a woman in her mid-20s). But then, you probably already knew that sicne you’re at least observant enough to read.

Researchers say the mid-20s represent the sweet spot for men because something something biology and a desire to find the most fertile female in which to insert their seed. While this still doesn’t explain the popularity of bukkake porn, it makes as much sense as anything else, I guess.

As for women, and again to the surprise of absolutely no one, the study finds that they tend to prefer men who are their own age or slightly older because they’re evolutionarily  programmed to seek out those with more “resources” who act as providers. What this means is that women have the upper hand when it comes to mating because men have sex based on the woman’s necessities rather than their own ideals.

This study was published in the Journal of Shit You Don’t Need a Degree To Know.

There is no Bottom

There are numerous forms of denial of science out there, from global warming denialism, to AIDS denialism, anti-vaxxers, and creationism. They all have a lot in common, from their insular exclusionary attitude that refuses to accept evidence that doesn’t fit their world view, to the various strategies they use to reduce cognitive dissonance and fight against reality including:

-Quoting out of context (quote-mining) to dishonestly suggest that the quoted person agrees with them.

-Cherry-picking data to show the exact opposite of what the data really shows.

-Making phony lists of “experts” who agree with them.

-Picking on small differences within the scientific community as evidence that the “science is not settled”.

-Picking a small factoid (usually misinterpreted and out of context) as evidence that the whole of science is false.

And the list goes on. Usually, these obvious strategies to deny an overwhelming body of evidence are so transparently self-delusional that we can laugh at them. But then I ran into something that staggered even my sense of how low these people can go.

We are all familiar with how creationists use ad hoc explanations and special pleading to rescue the absurdities of their world view, from trying to cram all of the animals into Noah’s ark and dismissing the huge numbers problem through their non-biological concept of “created kinds”, to doing all sorts of violence to the geologic record to justify Noah’s flood story, to even insisting that men have one less rib than do women (They don’t, and this is easy to check). More extreme Biblical literalists even believe in a flat earth and reject the heliocentric solar system.

But I was flabbergasted to read of an entire group of creationists that deny that dinosaurs even existed!

I’m used to the creationist trope of dinosaurs coexisting with humans, and we all remember the photo of P.Z. Meyers riding on a Triceratops at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. At least those creationists have the decency to admit that dinosaurs were real, and that the fossils are real remnants of animals that once existed.

Besides the usual attacks on radiometric dating and refutations of other creationists’ claims that Biblical references to behemoths and dragons actually refer to dinosaurs, this site makes the bizarre claim that all the dinosaur fossils were fabricated by scientists.  Now even if that were possible (where exactly is this factory that’s so busy making thousands of fake dino fossils?), why would scientists do it?  A representative quote for how these paranoid people argue that paleontologists are creating fraudulent dinosaur fossils is as follows:

What would be the motivation for such a deceptive endeavor? Obvious motivations include trying to prove evolution, trying to disprove or cast doubt on the Christian Bible and the existence of the Christian God, and trying to disprove the “young-earth theory”. Yes, there are major political and religious ramifications.

The dinosaur concept could imply that if God exists, he may have tinkered with his idea of dinosaurs for awhile, then perhaps discarded or became tired of this creation and then went on to create man. The presented dinosaur historical timeline could suggest an imperfect God who came up with the idea of man as an afterthought, thus demoting the biblical idea that God created man in His own image. Dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

Highly rewarding financial and economic benefits to museums, educational and research organizations, university departments of paleontology, discoverers and owners of dinosaur bones, and the book, television, movie and media industries may cause sufficient motivation for ridiculing of open questioning and for suppression of honest investigation.

The last one is a real knee slapper considering that so many paleontologists are poorly paid and can’t even get a job in paleontology.

The premise of the website is that dinosaurs are a fiction designed to “prove” evolution, disprove creationism thus driving us away from God. Which would be a neat trick if true since the earliest scholarly descriptions of what would now be recognized as dinosaur bones first appeared in the late 1600s while Origin of the Species wasn’t published until 1859. So the authors also get an F in history.

The authors go into extremely bizarre thinking about dinosaurs and paleontology. They jump from one paranoid speculation to another, all in an attempt to suggest that dinosaur bones are forgeries planted in the outcrop by crooked paleontologists, and there is no way they could have gotten there without fraud. The list of mistakes and lies and misconceptions about fossils and geology is so long that I don’t have space to even begin listing them all.

So go ahead and read this website if you dare. You’ll need a strong stomach for lies and self-deception and hopefully you will not be shocked by the low view of humanity that emerges from reading it.