Words of Advice for Atheist Literalists (and Many Bloggers)
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."
For more than a decade, Rick Weiss covered science (and its politics) for the Washington Post. When he left the paper last year, the news organization lost one of the top two or three science journalists in the business and perhaps the very best at covering the intersections of biomedical research and policy.
Weiss now serves as a fellow at the Center for American Progress, contributing articles to the think tank's Science Progress site. In today's Washington Post, Weiss pens a guest op-ed weighing in on the continued culture war over evolution.
While Darwin himself never took his findings as definitive evidence against the existence of God, many people of faith have read that conclusion into his work. As a result, the man who first grasped biology's most unifying concept is today widely demonized as an enemy of the church, even as many scientists and others make a similar mistake and invoke Darwin in their rejection of everything theological...
...Darwin's humility in the face of insufficient evidence -- his willingness to say "I don't know" -- is as important a lesson as any to be found in biology texts today. This is not about "teaching the controversy" -- Darwin had a slam-dunk in his explanation of the evolution of species, including humans, and every modern test of evolutionary theory has only strengthened his conclusions. But he also knew there is plenty of room for God at the top, upstream of the business of biology.
Soldiers in today's culture wars, whether in black collars or white lab coats, could take a tip from Darwin on his birthday bicentennial. He loved the natural world, "most beautiful and most wonderful." And he knew enough to not pick fights over what he did not know.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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