RSSCategory: Science

About people who are “Anti-Science”

May 2, 2017 | By | Reply More

Good article in Scientific American reminding us that those who are science-adverse or science-ignorant in some ways embrace science in other ways.  That should be obvious, in that creationists are willing to fly in airplanes and those who reject vaccines love to use their smart phones.  But this article goes further, and warns us that slapping people with with a general anti-science label risks driving them further into scientific ignorance.

People’s relationship with science is much more complex and nuanced than “pro-science” or “anti-science.” We need to correct some of the misconceptions we have and show that what is often labeled as “anti-science” or “science denial” is often better understood as isolated incidents of motivated bias. In general, trust in science is much higher than we often realize, in part because it includes a lot of people we might often consider “anti-science.”

The conclusions of this article:

  • There is a deep respect for scientists and the scientific process.
  • People often use what they believe to be credible scientific findings to argue against actual, credible scientific findings.
  • It is often the implied solutions of scientific findings that motivate denial.
  • People often deny the relevance of facts, not just their correctness.
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Pan: Saturn’s tiny oddly shaped moon

March 11, 2017 | By | Reply More

NASA just published photos of Pan, one of Saturn’s moons. Such an unusual shape!

[caption id="attachment_28101" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Pan – Moon of Saturn. Photo by NASA[/caption]
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Effects of Inequity: Demonstrated by two monkeys eating cucumbers and grapes

December 21, 2016 | By | 3 Replies More

What happens when you pay two monkeys unequally? This is what happens, as narrated by primatologist Frans de Waal. This is an excerpt from the TED Talk: “Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals.”

Watch the whole talk here.

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Carl Sagan Warns of the Dangers of the Lack of Education.

December 1, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More

Carl Sagan, last interview with Charlie Rose before his death in 1996. He warns of the dangers of lack of education and the potential for tyranny.

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Odds of getting killed by armed toddlers, terrorists and falling out of bed

September 8, 2016 | By | 2 Replies More

Excellent compilation of various risks of death.

risks

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Walk in the Garden

July 6, 2016 | By | Reply More

I can see the stone wall of the Missouri Botanical Garden from my front porch. It often beckons to me. Though my walks are often brisk, I bring a camera to slow me down to catch a brilliant color, an engaging pattern or a playful reflection. Sometimes, I sit for 5 or 10 minutes and try to meditate.

IMG_0266 MBG Music night

At the MBG, there’s people watching, of course, and this often causes me to think of the people I care most about–how could this not be the case in such a beautiful place?

IMG_0358 MBG Music night

But the two things come to my mind almost every time I visit the garden:

1. David Attenborough’s “Private Life of Plants.” (It’s about the only thing I keep my VCR for – it’s not available in Zone 1 on DVD). It’s a beautiful video series that blurs the line between flora and fauna, when plant growth is run in fast-motion.

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The body as the yardstick for meaning

May 8, 2016 | By | Reply More

Mark Johnson (of “Metaphors we live By,” written with George Lakoff) gave this excellent talk destroying the notion that meaning is something ethereal and disembodied. Instead, the body is the yardstick for meaning. This talk turns much of traditional epistemology upside down.

Johnson opens the talk with a Billy Collins talk titled “Purity.”

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How old do I LOOK?

January 9, 2016 | By | Reply More

Here is a free website developed by Microsoft engineers as a side project that attempts to determine how old one LOOKS based on an uploaded photo. It seems rather accurate per my eye.

Here’s the story of the site: http://www.today.com/money/how-old-do-i-look-microsoft-makes-wild-guess-t18696

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Photobiology

May 30, 2015 | By | Reply More

I’m enjoying photography, especially portraits. The final products are fun to create, but what is it that I’m looking for in a portrait? I’m convinced that photographers can benefit from some of the findings on what it means to be attractive by those who study biology, and specifically, evolution.

The above-linked Wikipedia article has lots of information on this topic of physical attractiveness as explored scientifically. Here’s an excerpt pertaining to women:

Research has attempted to determine which facial features communicate attractiveness. Facial symmetry has been shown to be considered attractive in women, and men have been found to prefer full lips, high forehead, broad face, small chin, small nose, short and narrow jaw, high cheekbones, clear and smooth skin, and wide-set eyes. The shape of the face in terms of “how everything hangs together” is an important determinant of beauty. A University of Toronto study found correlations between facial measurements and attractiveness; researchers varied the distance between eyes, and between eyes and mouth, in different drawings of the same female face, and had the drawings evaluated; they found there were ideal proportions perceived as attractive. These proportions (46% and 36%) were close to the average of all female profiles. Women with thick, dark limbal rings in their eyes have also been found to be more attractive. The explanation given is that because the ring tends to fade with age and medical problems, a prominent limbal ring gives an honest indicator of youth.

In a cross-cultural study, more neotenized (i.e., youthful looking) female faces were found to be most attractive to men while less neotenized female faces were found to be less attractive to men, regardless of the females’ actual age. One of these desired traits was a small jaw. In a study of Italian women who have won beauty competitions, it was found that their faces had more “babyish” (pedomorphic) traits than those of the “normal” women used as a reference.

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