10 Examples of Settled Science that Are 'Controversial'

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.

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

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less