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10 Examples of Settled Science that Are 'Controversial'

August 31, 2013, 12:00 AM
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Many Americans are being misled on serious scientific issues, and science journalists have to spend an inordinate amount of time debunking myths which seemingly never die.

Some people object to this, claiming that nothing is ever truly "settled" in science, and therefore, everything is open for debate. While that's technically true, there are a multitude of issues in which the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of one side of the argument.

With that in mind, the editors at RealClearScience have compiled a list of "controversial" science topics that aren't actually controversial.

1. Evolution Unites All of Biology

Evolution by natural selection is such a rock solid concept, that it is one of the ten greatest ideas in all of science. Opposition to the idea is particularly strong in the United States, which ranks near the bottom among westernized countries in terms of acceptance. 

Read more here.

2. Animal Testing Is Necessary

While 93% of scientists were in favor of animal research, merely 52% of the public agrees. This is a "necessary evil" that is not considered controversial in the scientific community.

Read more here

3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Necessary

Those who object to embryonic stem cells often point to adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells as superior alternatives. But this isn't necessarily true.

Read more here

4. Vaccines Don't Cause Autism

To call the supposed vaccine-autism link controversial is a gross mischaracterization. More appropriate descriptors are "incorrect," "delusional," "immoral," and "crazier than Jack Nicholson in The Shining."

Read more here.

5. Alternative Medicine Is Bunk

Sometimes, in the wake of alternative treatments, the body gets better on its own or through a placebo effect, giving rise to the powerful "It worked for me" response. Thus, ardent followers of sham medicine are born.

Read more here

6. Large Hadron Collider Won't Destroy Earth

Some people fear that particle collisions will give rise to black holes that will proceed to swallow the Earth. But to the best of our knowledge, this is impossible. As a physicist at Fermilab recently told Nautilus, if it were found that black holes could somehow form from particle collisions, that would be a revolutionary discovery. It might even merit a Nobel Prize!

Read more here.

7. Cold Fusion Isn't Real

What if you could create fusion simply and safely, for an infinitesimal fraction of its current cost? Wouldn't that be world changing?

Inventor Andrew Rossi consistently claims that he's done it with his energy catalyzer or "E-Cat." But while he has devised a cool-looking contraption that resembles an eighth grader's aluminum foil-wrapped science project, and his device does seem to mysteriously produce heat, Rossi has not provided any information as to how his device works. Nor has he published any of his results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Read more here

8. Nuclear Power Is Safe

Consider this: Outdoor air pollution kills 2 million people every single year. The risk from nuclear power pales in comparison.

Read more here.

9. Climate Change Is Largely Manmade

In 2010, a Gallup poll found that 50% of those surveyed thought that climate change was manmade, while 46% believed it was due to natural causes. Numbers like those indicate controversy. And yet, not a single reputable scientific body rejects the idea that climate change is manmade. 

Read more here

10. GMOs Are Safe

The public is bombarded with incorrect, and often blatantly dishonest, information about GMOs, or genetically-modified organisms.

Read more here

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

More from the Big Idea for Saturday, September 14 2013

Settled Science

In our politically polarized society, nothing is beyond controversy -- including "settled" scientific issues that the scientific community does not actually consider controversial. Most likely, th... Read More…

 

10 Examples of Settled Scie...

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