Many of us seem to be selective in whether we believe in science. Yet we unquestioningly depend on the products of science for much of every day.

For example, do you travel casually in automobiles, confident that features like cruise control, power steering, and anti-lock braking systems will function as expected?

Do you put a cellphone to your ear, or carry it in your pocket, assured that the battery will not explode?

Do you stay in the same room while your microwave is running, without a thought about its radiation?

These and other modern devices are available for our use, and generally perform to very high, safe standards, thanks to various disciplines of science.

Researchers and engineers apply laws of physics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and more, as well as laws of probability, to advance our technical knowledge and capabilities. The scientific rigor of hypothesis, testing, observation, recording, and the ability to consistently reproduce equivalent results have added much to our civilization.

Certainly, some “silver linings” have come with a “cloud.” Some “advances,” like DDT or asbestos insulation, have proven to be net negatives. Perhaps more testing and evaluation of down-stream consequences would’ve resulted in these products’ not being produced for use in the first place.

Still, we rely daily almost blindly on science in myriad ways. Except when we choose not to.

Science indicates you’ll more likely survive a vehicle accident if you wear a seatbelt or helmet, and what designs and materials will protect you most effectively.

If you choose not to wear them and are killed or are disabled, you’re the only one directly harmed — assuming you exclude the economic and emotional impact on any dependents.

Science tells us that smoking — including second-hand smoke — poses dramatic health risks. Sure, you can ignore that, too. In this case, your decision also threatens the health of others in your household or that you spend a lot of time with.

Science emphatically affirms that vaccinations can prevent or reduce the likelihood of contracting certain life-threatening illnesses. You can decline vaccinations for yourself and your children.

But now, you’re not only placing your family at risk, you’re posing a threat to the entire community, even people you’ve never met.

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that certain human activities play a major role in climate change, which has a potential to disrupt civilization, if not the entire global biosphere.

You can reject that consensus and even oppose taking steps, individually or collectively, to address this issue. This time, your decision contributes to a threat to potentially every living thing on the planet.

Those who dismiss certain concerns as deriving from “junk science” should be sure where they stand. Can they produce, or at least cite, more credible scientific results that refute those concerns?

Perhaps they should just honestly admit that they believe in science when it allows them to do what they want to do, but not when it gets in their way, no matter who it harms.

Jack Evins lives in Galveston.

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(36) comments

Ray Taft

Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Every apocalyptic pronouncement about climate change is nothing short of the insanity found in the Democrats’ Green New Deal. Their primary goal is not to save plants, humans, or animals, but rather to use climate “dangers” as a justification for centralizing power in the hands of a select few.

Paul Hyatt

Article that I read yesterday that stated that the measles outbreak was caused by all of the illegal criminals that have flooded our nation borders....

Carlos Ponce

In 2012 the CDC reported: "Of the 222 U.S. measles cases, 200 (90%) were associated with importations, of which 72 (36%) were importations from other countries, 67 (30%) were linked epidemiologically to importations, 39 (20%) had virologic evidence (i.e., isolation of a viral genotype known to circulate in a country with measles) that suggested recent importation, and 22 (11%) were linked to cases with virologic evidence of recent importation."
But some of these came from Americans who had traveled to another country.

Bailey Jones

Yes, the most recent outbreak I read about was from an unvaccinated US child who had traveled to Israel. 4,000 cases of measles in Israel this last year.

Steve Fouga

It's not "illegal criminals," it's legal immigrants visiting their homelands in Israel and eastern Europe. They pick up the virus offshore and transmit it to anti-vaxxers in the U.S.

Carlos Ponce

Not all, Steve.

Steve Fouga

I didn't say "all," but of the several articles I read on this subject, not one mentioned "illegal criminals." EVERY article stated the outbreaks were caused by people traveling FROM the U.S. to foreign counties.

Feel free to provide evidence of illegals or foreign travelers bringing measles to the U.S. if you'd like.

Bailey Jones

In 2018, Americans made about 90,000,000 trips outside the US https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2018-O-001/index.html. Tourists make about 75,000,000 trips to the US each year. So - 165,000,000 opportunities to bring measles into the US legally. That dwarfs the number of undocumented aliens entering the country each year which is surely less than 1% of this number.

Carlos Ponce

Remember both Ellis and Pelican Islands checked the health of immigrants. There was a quarantine station there.

Bailey Jones

"Remember both Ellis and Pelican Islands checked the health of immigrants. There was a quarantine station there." Yes, and legal immigrants are required to be vaccinated, but not tourists - the vast majority of visitors.

Jim Forsythe

The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.
As Measles is considered more contagious than almost any other disease and we are seeing a rise in unvaccinated people in the USA, the number of case will go up.
If you look at most cases of outbreaks, they come from overseas.
From January 1 to April 19, 2019, 626 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states. This is an increase of 71 cases from the previous week. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000, second only to the 667 cases reported during all of 2014. In the coming weeks, 2019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels. These outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring. Make sure you are vaccinated against measles before traveling internationally.
2018: The U.S. experienced 17 outbreaks in 2018. Three outbreaks in New York State, New York City, and New Jersey, respectively, contributed to most of the cases. Cases in those states occurred primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities. These outbreaks were associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring. Eighty-two people brought measles to the U.S. from other countries in 2018. This is the greatest number of imported cases since measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000.
2015: The United States experienced a large (147 cases), multi-state measles outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. The outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles, then visited the amusement park while infectious; however, no source was identified. Analysis by CDC scientists showed that the measles virus type in this outbreak (B3) was identical to the virus type that caused the large measles outbreak in the Philippines in 2014.
2011: In 2011, more than 30 countries in the WHO European Region reported an increase in measles, and France was experiencing a large outbreak. These led to a large number of importations (80) that year. Most of the cases that were brought to the U.S. in 2011 came from France. For more information see Measles — United States, January-May 20, 2011.

For more info https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

Carlos Ponce

"The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated."
Jim, chances are they were ALL un-vaccinated. That's not the question. The question is how the measles virus was introduced once more into American society.
Some Americans traveled to foreign countries, some got it from foreigners entering the United States.

Jim Forsythe

If you are vaccinated for measles, you can still get measles!
.Who will get the measles?
Nine of out 10 unvaccinated people exposed to the measles virus will get the measles. That’s a whopping 90 percent. Also included are baby's under one, that are not vaccinated.

Most people think that if they are vaccinated they not need to worry about get the measles
That not true. This is why no one should expose themselves to measles, if they can help it.
About 1 percent of people who have two doses,still get measles.
Typically the first is administered at 12 months and the second at 4 or 5 years old. The first dose provides 95 percent protection. But 5 percent of patients have immune systems that don’t respond to these antibodies. The second kindergarten-age dose bolsters the coverage to 99 percent. “But you still have 1 percent of people who have two doses of the vaccine who we call non-responders,”

Steve Fouga

I had measles as a child. I wonder if I'm still immune. I'll endeavor not to find out.

Carlos Ponce

Dr. Mark Diamond says, " No. Surviving the infection appears to grant life-long immunity.
Dr. Robert Jackson Says, "Possible. If your immune system was damaged it could happen."
https://www.healthtap.com/user_questions/21416-can-you-get-measles-again-if-you-had-it-as-a-child

Jim Forsythe

Once you’ve had measles once, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it again as your body is able to build up a resistance. Experts say most adults born before 1970 are likely to be immune because they’ve probably had exposure to measles already.

Bailey Jones

Much of what you write about (exploding batteries, car safety systems, etc.,) isn't so much science as it is engineering. Even Americans who reject science accept engineering as a real thing. Scientific and engineering literacy is important, as is teaching the critical thinking skills required to tell good info from bad. America has never been great at either. I still remember my 3rd grade teacher telling us that men had one less rib than women because God took it from Adam.

Steve Fouga

I disproved the rib assertion as a child by counting my ribs and asking one of the neighborhood girls to count hers. But by that time, I was already questioning the heck out of anything that sounded fishy to me...

Carlos Ponce

"I'll count mine if you count yours?" [whistling]

Steve Fouga

Exactly. Even as a child I had the good sense to respect women.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]

Katrina Evenhouse

Jack Evans says the overwhelming scientific consensus of that humans play to disrupt civilization! What a scar tactic. Have you ever heard of Climate gate? The emails that were leaked on the fake data of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. These are the people that also assisted Al Gore in his lies. Look up and read Climate Change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation. telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. Scientist are paid by people who want to get the result of their agenda. Period...And as far as cell phones they say on the package insert that they can cause cancer and are now warning not to let young children use them. Microwaves were developed as a weapon of war by our Government and now sit in everyone's kitchen.

Joel Martin

If a single prediction made by climate change alarmists ever actually happens I might start believing them. For now they have zero credibility. As I have read so often, consensus is for politics, not for science.

Steve Fouga

They predicted it would get warmer, more ice would melt, and less ice would form. That's three.

Carlos Ponce

From a 2014 NASA article: "Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches New Record Maximum"
https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum
And from Liberal WAPO in 2017: "Antarctic ice has set an unexpected record, and scientists are struggling to figure out why"
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/01/antarctic-ice-has-set-an-unexpected-record-and-scientists-are-struggling-to-figure-out-why/?utm_term=.b2e0a941f1f5

Steve Fouga

Not a believer in the big picture huh, Carlos?

Carlos Ponce

I believe in the entire picture which shows a cyclical pattern. Climate change is an on-going process. I always point to the fact that Ellis and Liberty Islands were once not islands at all but connected to the mainland. Rising sea levels THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO made them islands. Did those Native Americans have power plants and fuel guzzling automobiles? Maybe it was those Thunderbirds....

Bailey Jones

Did you even read that NASA article, Carlos? If not, please do. There are a variety of reasons why Antarctica's ice is increasing. There is the Southern Ocean Circumpolar Current, which keeps the southern pole cold (in the same way that the gulf stream keeps England warm). And there's increased precipitation due to global warming; more snow = more ice. Both of these serve to insulate (pun intended) Antarctica from some of the effects of global temperature rise. But your comment about cyclical climate change is spot on. That's what makes global warming such a significant event. If you read the pdf I referenced, or can remember back to the 1970s, everyone was saying we were due for a cold cycle - that's where the natural cycles would have taken us. But the natural cycle has been overwhelmed by the greenhouse effect and so we're seeing unprecedented global warming. It's unprecedented, not because we've never had warm periods before, but because we should be in a cold period. (I know your conservative ideology overrides any science I can throw at you, but just in case anyone else is reading...)

Steve Fouga

Carlos, if you believe in the entire picture, quit quoting articles about singularities inside a sweeping process. Notice individual events and phenomena, yes, but see them as anomalies within a larger trend.

To me it sounds like you've left your training behind in adhering to conservative politics.

Carlos Ponce

"Did you even read that NASA article, Carlos?"
The reasons don't matter. There are many reasons why man-made Climate Change Scenarios don't fit but those who believe in it disregard them. Bottom line no matter what the reason the "predictions" don't fit.

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos, if you believe in the entire picture, quit quoting articles about singularities inside a sweeping process." No singularities inside a sweeping process in any of my posts. Just the whole picture.[beam]

Bailey Jones

Steve - "quit quoting articles about singularities inside a sweeping process" - there is no way to detract from the overwhelming evidence of climate science except by quoting singularities. Even the latest Exxon Mobil TV commercial makes it clear - "If these industrial plants had technology that captured carbon like trees, we could help lower emissions. Carbon capture is important technology and experts agree." But you won't convince conservative ideologues, any more than you will convince a creationist that evolution is a fact. There's a famous parable in Buddhism - you cannot fill a cup with the truth when it is already full of something else.

Steve Fouga

[beam]

Bailey Jones

Here ya go. The original climate change prediction by the guy who coined the term "global warming". In 1974 he predicted that CO2 levels would raise the global temperature by 1.1C over 1900 levels by 2010. We're currently at 0.9C. Pretty good prediction considering the tools available in 1974.
https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/files/2009/10/broeckerglobalwarming75.pdf

Robert Braeking

So much of so called science is nothing but propaganda packaged to appear scientific. Millions of years earth, geologic column, evolution, (with the exception of micro-evolution that should be properly called natural selection.), man-made global warming, ozone hole, and others that I cannot bring off the top of my head at the moment are not science but pseudo-science. Science is the study of matter and processes using observation or repeatable experimentation. To suggest that 'science' can be critiqued by consensus is totally unscientific. Perhaps after relearning the scientific method we should also learn critical thinking.

Our waiter at the IHOP today did not know what Hollandaise sauce is nor had he ever heard of Holland, the Zider Zee, or the little boy who saved the town by putting his finger in the dyke. Our education system is a joke.

Bailey Jones

Here's hoping that our educational system isn't teaching that Hollandaise sauce comes from Holland, or that the Zuiderzee still exists, or that a little boy saved the town by sticking his finger in a hole in a dyke - because none of that is true.

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