Science, Pseudo-Science, and the SciSchmooze 2.13.17

Happy Darwin Day! (belated)

In case you missed it Feb 12 is Darwin’s birthday celebration. I hope you were able to do something evolutionary to celebrate. 3 Things You Might Not Know About Charles Darwin

It seems that though science has been challenged by many different pseudoscience beliefs for many years there is a much greater need for more understanding, education, and support of science. I have often said that science is more than test tubes and particle accelerators. It is to my mind, at the core of what it is to try and understand how the universe works from the sub-atomic to the entire universe. It is an adventure that humans have pursued for as long as we have had communication and time to ponder the sky or note the behavior of animals that were hunted for food.

I hope you will take the time to read an article written by Professor Andrew Fraknoi from Foothill College. It is from his commencement speech to the graduating class of Foothill College. You can read it as it is but I encourage you to reflect on its’ relevance to all walks of life both starting out and learning in formal education but also in that endeavor to keep learning throughout life. So I ask that if you never click on another link I include in the SciSchmooze, please...

read Why Should I Believe a Word of This?

The distrust of science harkens back many years. There is also the responsible skepticism of what we here is science. Learning the difference between pseudoscience and real science is important. There are some key differences that Science And Facts, Alternative Or Otherwise explains really well. Many will ask Can We Trust Science? I say it is the most trustworthy explanation of what makes our world work and how to predict what it might be like in the future. While the title of this might not be the most appropriate for children, Why Do People Fall for Pseudo-Profound Bullsh*t? is a great discussion that helps explain why they do.

Brevity is not my forte! I do want to say that we really do need to not only promote but we now seem to need to defend science. As I have said this isn’t about politics, but it seems like it! The March for Science is going to happen on Earth Day April 22. I’m not one for crowds and marches but this one needs all of our support if it is to make a difference. Watch their site directly and we’ll keep you updated as well. I hope that schools all over the country will send their students out to learn about civic involvement and encourage them to get involved. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s when science education was the supported and the kids were growing up to be the future scientists that would discover and create so many new things for the benefit and excitement of all of us. We need to get that thrill and excitement back. There are already plans for marches in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Santa Cruz and 11 more locations in California alone!

So this week I hope you will go celebrate science by attending one of the amazing presentations that happen across the SF Bay Area. Here are few that I think might be worth your attention:

  1. Love Letter to Mt. Diablo Tue 7PM Albany
  2. “In My Solitude”: The Detrimental Effects of Solitary Confinement on the Brain (in collaboration with After Dark) Thu 7PM San Francisco
  3. Baylands Scavenger Hunt Sat 10:30AM Palo Alto

Here’s an extra tip: Even though the RSVP period is closed, if you visit the explOratorium Tuesday morning you can still attend Meet the Minds: The Science of Love and The Love Competition. It is for donors but open to anyone in the museum.

Here’s a fascinating diversion for you: Check out Earthglance and Grid Corrections (a one minute). Maybe you have heard of ranges and townships. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson is one of the folks responsible for them? The Thomas Jefferson Grid System is a fascinating story of how we have come to define our lands on the planet. Here’s another interesting view from above: NASA takes the best before-and-after photos

herbert a. masters III
ScienceSchmoozer and a shameless promoter of:
the SciSchmooze @

“We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a 'higher answer'--but none exists.”
— Stephen J. Gould, interview, Life (December 1988).

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