In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

[F]rom now on why not agree that science and the oil industry both have opinions. Oh, and before you tell your kids to wash their hands after they take a shit so they don’t spread disease, maybe we should spend an equal amount of time hearing from Big Fecal.

Jon Stewart responding to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology after hearing comments like:

"Think about it, if your ice cube melts in your glass it doesn’t overflow."

— Rep. Steve Stockman (R)

"I could read that [climate science] but I don’t believe it."

— Rep. Larry Bucshon (R)

(Source: america-wakiewakie)

Stewart Blows Up on GOP Over Climate Change: ‘Pushing a Million Pounds of Idiot Up a Mountain’

Jon Stewart on Monday slammed a U.S House hearing regarding climate change, comparing the Republican-led session to “pushing a million pounds of idiot up a mountain.”

The Wednesday hearing featured testimony from John Holdren, President Barack Obama‘s adviser on science and technology. Stewart showed clips of Republicans Steve Stockman of Texas, Dana Rohrabacher of California and Larry Bucshon of Indiana doubting the effects of climate change.

Stewart labeled Holdren the hearing’s “Sysyphus, charged with the impossible task of pushing a million pounds of idiot up a mountain.”

“How far back to the elementary school curriculum do we have to go to get someone on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology caught up?” Stewart said. “Do we have to bring out the paper-machet and the baking soda so you can make a volcano?”

Click through for video.

Global Warming Deniers Are Growing More Desperate by the Day

The Heartland Institute’s recent International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas illustrates climate change deniers’ desperate confusion. As Bloomberg News noted, “Heartland’s strategy seemed to be to throw many theories at the wall and see what stuck.” A who’s who of fossil fuel industry supporters and anti-science shills variously argued that global warming is a myth; that it’s happening but natural — a result of the sun or “Pacific Decadal Oscillation”; that it’s happening but we shouldn’t worry about it; or that global cooling is the real problem.

The only common thread, Bloomberg reported, was the preponderance of attacks on and jokes about Al Gore: “It rarely took more than a minute or two before one punctuated the swirl of opaque and occasionally conflicting scientific theories.”…

…Far worse. Katharine Hayhoe, director of Texas Tech’s Climate Science Center and an evangelical Christian, had her email inbox flooded with hate mail and threats after conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh denounced her, and right-wing blogger Mark Morano published her email address. “I got an email the other day so obscene I had to file a police report,” Hayhoe said in an interview on the Responding to Climate Change website. “They mentioned my child. It had all kinds of sexual perversions in it — it just makes your skin crawl.”…

…Many attacks came from fellow Christians unable to accept that humans can affect “God’s creation.” That’s a belief held even by a few well-known scientists and others held up as climate experts, including Roy Spencer, David Legates and Canadian economist Ross McKitrick. They’ve signed the Cornwall Alliance’s Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, which says, “We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception.” This worldview predetermines their approach to the science….

A Satirical Take on Earth’s Dystopian Future

Made by Duncan Elms, this video imagines a future where Earth has been ravaged by wars, cyclones, food shortages, destructive weather and horrible humans and turned into areas of uninhabitable zones. And yet, cities would still make bids to host the Olympic Games, even if they’re during a nuclear winter.

(Source: Gizmodo)

US Congressman Opens Climate Change Denial Confrence With Rant Against Water Fluoridation

Here at the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas, an aging crowd has gathered for the largest climate change skeptic conference in the world. Sponsored by the Heartland Institute—an oil and gas industry-funded think tank famous for its 90s-era role in taking tobacco money to deny the health risks associated with smoking—speakers at the opening session last night stressed that despite being well outside the scientific mainstream, their beliefs will one day win the battle of ideas on climate policy.

Then, things quickly got weird when the most prominent speaker of the evening opened his mouth…

Political, Religious Identity More Influential Than Scientific Literacy

Belief appears to trump fact and reason, which is why dealing with anti-vaxxers, creationists, or climate change deniers can be such a rage-inducing experience. This news is also a bit disheartening, as changing minds is not as easy as explaining the facts. What can we do to combat the fact that scientifically-literate individuals are turning their backs on facts in order to toe the line for political party or religious sect?

Wyoming chooses fossil fuels over science education

Last week, Wyoming succeeding in blocking public school students from learning about science — or at least the science that state politicians and the fossil fuel industry don’t believe in. Gov. Matt Mead (R) approved a budget amendment that prevents the state from implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a multistate effort to combat ignorance and promote interest in science, so that more students might choose to pursue it in college. A big reason for doing so, right-wing groups made clear, was the standards’ treatment of climate change and evolution as fact.

ted:

To really understand climate change, we need to see the big picture. This beautiful globe is an animated climate model, made to help scientists figure out what the eff is going on.

This particular model (which you can see in all its mesmerizing glory at 8:33) shows many atmospheric particles moving around the globe. The reddish-orange is dust streaming off the Sahara; the white is pollution from burning coal and volcanoes; the red dots are fires; and the blue swirls are sea salt whipped into the air by the wind.

All those swirling particles affect our climate. “There are so many different factors at work,” says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt"Everything from how light travels through the atmosphere to how the winds move the ocean around to how rain hits the ground has an effect on what actually happens on Earth both now and in the future."

Watch the full talk here »

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): Climate Change Debate


“Do owls exist? Are there hats?” Comedian John Oliver joins Bill Nye to put the disparities between scientific understanding of climate change, popular opinion, and outlier contrarianism into perspective. Featuring a mathematically representative climate change debate, with the help of special guest Bill Nye the Science Guy, of course.

christiannightmares:

Pat Robertson says fighting climate change will ‘destroy America’ (Found at Right Wing Watch; For a related video, click here http://christiannightmares.tumblr.com/post/46194848732/pat-robertson-says-environmentalists-may-cause-the)

Your old road is rapidly aging, Pat. Get out of the new one if you can lend your hand.

The best thing about Pat Robertson is the fact that he’s almost dead, and so are the great majority of his viewers.

5 Easy Tips for Denying Scientific Consensus

Faced with unfortunate facts or inconvenient truths? Tired of closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears, and screaming “LA LA LA LA LA LA?” Well, simply read RealClearScience’s handy guide for denying scientific consensus. It’s 100% proven to work against a variety of well-substantiated topics, such as:

Drinking Water Fluoridation
Global Climate Change
Child Vaccinations
Evolution
The Link Between HIV and AIDS

I’m sure you’ve got a long day of crafting aluminum foil hats ahead of you, so let’s get going!

Tip #1: Claim a conspiracy. Feel like the whole world is against you? Well that’s because it is! Scientists, politicians, journalists: they’re all in collusion! Take climate change, for example. It’s obvious why all those scientists “agree.” They’ve been paid off by Big Solar and Big Wind, and are probably throwing lavish parties, complete with dancers that jump out of giant cakes shaped like beakers.

Tip #2: Use fake experts. The other side has their experts, so you need to get some, too. Finding somebody with respected credentials will be difficult, so to make up for it, just dress whoever you select in a white lab coat. If you can recruit a celebrity, do it! The public already trusts them. (Note: The more attractive the celebrity, the greater is his or her credibility.) To the anti-vaxxers out there, I recommend Jenny McCarthy.

Tip #3: Cherry-pick scientific data. Every once in a while, a scientific study will be published that supports your claims. When this happens, latch on and don’t let go (despite it’s obvious errors)! After all, the key to convincing others is simply to repeat your message more often than your opponents repeat theirs. If you’re opposed to genetic modification, allow me to recommend a 2012 study by Gilles-Éric Séralini which found that genetically modified corn causes cancer in lab rats. Never mind that it’s been universally denounced and recentlyretracted. The public doesn’t need to know that.

Tip #4: Create unrealistic expectations of the evidence. Science is inherently uncertain; even scientists admit that! What can they ever really prove? Nothing! Climate change deniers, take Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee’s advice and “point to the absence of accurate temperature records from before the invention of the thermometer.”

Tip #5: Employ logical fallacies. Straw men, red herrings, false analogies: all of these are your friends. Misrepresent the opposition! Change the subject! And here’s a foolproof false analogy for evolution deniers: “As the universe and a watch are both extremely complex, the universe must have been created by the equivalent of a watchmaker.” Deep, isn’t it?

Okay! You’re ready to go!

But first beware: there’s a guaranteed side effect of utilizing this guide. You’ll look like a total dunderhead.

But hey, it sure beats sticking your head in the ground.

Is it political if I tell you that if we burn coal, you’re going to warm the atmosphere? Or is that a statement of fact that you’ve made political? It’s a scientific statement. The fact that there are elements of society that have made it political, that’s a whole other thing.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (via socio-logic)

(Source: alwaysmoneyinthebnanastand)