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Monthly Archives: August 2015

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

From the pulpit of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, the now-retired Rev. Earl Palmeronce said, “We have nothing to fear from science.” It was one of the many times I knew that I had found the right church for me.

Rev. Palmer is not alone in his embrace of science. Indeed, theologians past and present have found science to be illuminating rather than threatening, undermining the widespread notion of a “war” between science and religion. Just as many prominent scientists have spoken kindly of religion, many theologians have spoken highly of science. We have compiled some of the best quotes below: Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience. It was also co-authored with Todd Myers.

EPA says it focuses on environmental protection. The Animas River disaster shows that it is more concerned with protecting itself.

The accidental spill of toxic wastewater into Colorado’s Animas River is an ironic case study: The very organization meant to protect Americans from environmental catastrophes was responsible for perpetrating it. How should the Environmental Protection Agency be held accountable?

Colorado, and the states downstream of the spill, should sue the EPA. But, instead of merely recovering the cost of environmental damage, the lawsuit should focus on taming the leviathan the EPA has become. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The evolution of cooperation remains something of a mystery in biology. The cutthroat individualism at the heart of natural selection seems, at first glance, to run counter to the very notion of sociality. However, groups of organisms that display cooperative tendencies tend to be more successful than those that do not, and hence, natural selection also appears to operate at a level higher than merely that of the individual. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Imagine if Congress voted on whether or not to teach evolution and climate change in school. And imagine that 73% of Republicans voted against it. The backlash would be easy to predict: The national media, and science journalists in particular, would spend a week making somber declarations of impending educational and scientific collapse that would reverberate across the cosmos.

As it so happens, Congress did just vote on something of tremendous scientific importance: Biotechnology. And, as it so happens, 73% of Democrats voted against the bill. Yet, the national media remained deafeningly and hypocritically silent.  Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The first person who discovered pearls must have believed he stumbled across a bit of magic. Pull apart the valves of a living oyster, and a beautiful spherical gem of calcium carbonate may lay inside. Alas, it is not magic. A pearl forms in response to tissue damage, such as by the introduction of a foreign body, and the pearl is the oyster’s attempt to wall off the offending object. (A similar process occurs in the lungs of people with tuberculosis.) Today, humans take advantage of this quirk of oyster biology in order to culture pearls on our own terms. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

It is generally accepted as gospel truth among climate scientists and science writers that the world must immediately and drastically reduce carbon emissions in order to prevent apocalyptic climate change. Though RCS’s editorial stance toward apocalyptic climate change is one of skepticism — largely because doomsday prophets, be they the scientific or religious type, have always been wrong — we freely admit that a catastrophic outcome is a possibility and radical measures may be necessary. (At this time, however, we believe that the best policy is the gradual lowering of carbon emissions through the implementation of a carbon tax.)

Whatever combination of climate solutions the world decides to implement, a new analysis in Environmental Science & Technology reminds us that all policies bear costs and unintended consequences. In the case of greenhouse gas reductions, the unintended consequence may be an increased risk of global hunger. Read More »