Peak Oil, which was supposed to have happened in 1992, set off the craze of declaring 'peak' everything, to such an extent it is a running joke now.(1)
The good news for Peak Oil believers is that they are going to be right eventually. Oil is a 'fossil' fuel and we aren't making any more giant dinosaurs. Even in the 1970s, when the peak oil date was floated, no one outside environmental doomsday prophets believed it, because it fell victim to the plight of most advocacy-based projections; it created a curve of demand but assumed technology and science, and therefore the supply, would be static. By creating a false metric they concluded all the oil that would ever be found had been found.
In American scientization of politics culture, evolution acceptance is a big deal, as is climate change. Yet other science acceptance issues get much less attention.
Why? Evolution and climate change are not the most pressing short-term science issues we face, food, energy and medicine are. I am in awe of evolution but no one dies if some crank school district wants to put religion side-by-side with biology in a classroom, and American CO2 emissions from energy, obviously our biggest polluter, are back at early 1990s levels, thanks to science finding ways to make natural gas extraction better.
Throughout the 20th century, medical research and public health science was primarily done by corporations - the United States, with 5 percent of the population, generated more than 50 percent of the money and a whole lot more of the science.
No more. Medical research has declined in the United States. It's a win for multiculturalism and a win for globalization but a loss for the U.S. Yet we have no one else to blame. We are not being out-competed by China when it comes to science, we are losing medical research because we have been taught to hate drug companies and that new drugs should be cheap. That has had substantial impact on our policy.
Throughout the European Union, environmental elites have to scramble a bit to rationalize their anti-GMO stance while trying not to sound silly. That's not easy. How can modern GMOs be Frankenfood while the previous generation of genetically modified foods, made using less precise mutagenesis
, are not only allowed but considered organic?
Literature scholars love to debate Shakespeare. Like 'the greatest baseball player of all time' everyone can have an opinion and they are all just as valid, if even a modicum of thought went into it.(1) He was real, he was not real, he was a fraud, he was the greatest writer of all time, he was a woman, you name it and someone in the humanities has argued for it
He was Catholic? Catholics say so, at least after the fact, but that evidence is circumstantial, like everything else except his writing.
One of the biggest struggles in toxicology is creating the correct parameters so you are modeling the real world as closely as possible. It's an enormous task to model the environment with its millions of factors, so controlled studies are done using animals.
Scientists design experiments that give an animal a lot of something at once and that can tell them 'this is the threshold where more analysis is a waste of time' and perhaps also find an effect that may be worth studying in more detail. It's a time-honored technique but it's also a technique that can be exploited.