Two Essays on Expelled, Dawkins, and PZ
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Two essays I wrote on Expelled are now in print and I have placed PDFs of the articles online. The first shorter essay appears at Skeptical Inquirer magazine and reviews the impact of the film at the state level, as it has shaped local news coverage and the legislative agenda. I conclude that as a strategic communication campaign, the film's impact has been greatly underestimated.
The second longer essay appears at the Kean Review, a new arts and ideas journal sold at Barnes & Noble and other larger bookstores. In this essay I review the impact of the film but also anchor Expelled in the context of the decade-long framing wars over intelligent design.
In both essays, I draw attention to the confusing messages that scientist pundits such as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers continue to send to the wider American public. By combining their attacks on religion with their defense of evolution, they blur the lines between science, religion, and atheism, providing fodder to creationists who claim that evolution is part of a larger atheist agenda. These confusing messages are only likely to be amplified next year during the anniversary celebration of Charles Darwin, as Dawkins goes on a publicity tour for his new book and Myers is reported to also have a book in the works.
Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.
- A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
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It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
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- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
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