from The Daily Bell:
Scientists are worried about the Trump administration: His pick for the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t seem interested in protecting the environment, his energy secretary lacks the publication record of his highly academic predecessors, and the president himself once tweeted that global warming is a Chinese hoax. In light of such issues, they’re planning a march to advocate the use of scientific evidence in political decision-making. Was there ever an alternative to evidence? -Bloomberg
The march is going to take place on April 22, and chances are it will receive a great deal of coverage, much as the protest by women did. The march is not going to divorce science from political decision-making, only advocate its proper use.
The article says that people in the march may not understand the difference between fact-based scientific evidence and marketing material. “Along with a march, maybe we need better education on the difference between science and politicized pseudoscience.”
dditionally, the march is scheduled for Earth Day , which comes with its own set of confusions. The article tells us that the first Earth Day was less of a celebration and more of an obituary. This was because researchers at the time were very firm that human being were about to deplete the earth’s remaining resources and “wipe themselves off the planet.”
Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich predicted that between 1980 and 1989, 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would starve to death. Nobel Laureate George Wald estimated that civilization would end within 15 or 30 years unless humans took immediate action.
Life magazine ran a terrifying cover story, saying that “scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence” to predict that “by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half,” and “increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will affect the earth’s temperature, leading to mass flooding or a new ice age.”
It was more hype than science. None of the predictions had testable hypotheses. They simply coupled historical population growth rates with an absurd doomsday model. Ridiculous as the claims were, no one really wanted to refute them or argue against the conservation of natural resources.
The article goes on to point out that statistics can be used by both sides to make points about an industry. Cigarette manufacturers were assaulted by lung cancer victims accounting for 3.3 percent of over 15,000 deaths but only .9 percent of 3,726 deaths among non-smokers.
But the cigarette companies turned this around and claimed that because the number was very low, there actually was no causation. The larger point of the article is that science is not always conclusive but that it doesn’t have to be to communicate a possible dangerous trend.
For us, this is a controversial notion. We tend to believe that just because science indicates something doesn’t mean that the result should be an inevitable legal tarnishing or outright banning of the product in question.
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