E.O. Wilson Calls for Atheists and Evangelicals to Come Together on Common Ground



E.O. Wilson is on a noble mission to bridge the perceived divide between science, religion, and partisanship. In his book, The Creation, by framing environmental stewardship as not only a scientific matter, but also one of personal and moral duty, Wilson has engaged an Evangelical audience that might not otherwise pay attention to popular science books, or for that matter, appeals on the environment.

Shifting his focus to the partisan divide, Wilson employs a similar strategy by penning the forward to a forthcoming book by former Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich. In A Contract with the Earth, Gingrich and his co-author Terry L. Maple argue that environmental stewardship is "a mainstream value that transcends partisan politics."

As a leading scientist and secular humanist, Wilson's message strategy is in sharp contrast to that of the New Atheists who draw a line in the sand between the godless and the religious.

In an interview with Bill Moyers (transcript), Wilson passionately argued that if atheists and religious folk "sat down and talked about our deepest beliefs together, we'd come up with more agreements. Agreements on more things than disagreements. And then isn't it the American way? We could say, 'Let's put that aside for awhile and work together when we really have something we need to work together on.' "

Wilson said that his goal in writing The Creation was to show atheists and Evangelicals that their common values and interests far out way their differences. Moreover, for the two groups to be constantly at odds is both damaging and distracting. He calls for the godless and the deeply religious to meet at common ground "on the near side of metaphysics."

Here's how Wilson defines his central message:

Let us-- in the service of a transcendent moral obligation and concern put aside our differences for the time being and not fuss with each other over evolution. In other words where it all came from. Let us agree looking at the evidence that is disappearing. And let us, dare I use the word, gather at the river."

Come together on common ground where we can exercise the extraordinary power we have jointly. And I argue and few people disagreed with me that science and religion are the two most powerful social forces in the world. Having them at odds at each other all the way up to the highest levels of government and-- the popular media all the time is not productive.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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