Science & Society
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.
In 2013, President Obama threatened to shut down the government if Congress did not do what he wanted. Congress replied in kind and so we got The Sequester, where government functions were halted unless they were specially exempted. NASA and the National Science Foundation were shuttered, the Smithsonian Panda Cam was turned off, science was doomed
- but while scuttling science the president kept 436 personal White House staffers were kept on the payroll as "essential"
90 percent of the American public consider themselves spiritual so why is there a belief that 'religious' people are less likely to accept science? Environmentalism is certainly akin to its own religion, as is alternative medicine, and they are also widely considered anti-science, yet all three groups consider themselves fans of science - just not some science they happen not to like.
Self-administered questionnaires sent to 364 Japanese medical journalists allowed them to describe their experiences in selecting stories, choosing angles, and performing research when creating cancer-centered news pieces.
The journalists report that they did not find pharmaceutical press releases to be helpful, preferring direct contact with physicians as their most reliable and prized sources of information. This is much different than in America, where it is assumed that the experts know the most about study results and methodology and anecdotes from doctors are less valuable.
Every business wants to capitalize on imagination and innovation - but a corporate structure may be the wrong way to promote it. And if you really want to kill creativity, have social authoritarians in government controlling your culture.
Collectivism is bad for the imagination. It's hard to think about art when you have to think about the good of the state, according to a paper in the Journal of Business Research, which compared nearly 300 individuals from Taiwan, a collectivist society, and Canada, slightly more individualistic.
Multiculturalism was once a good thing - people learned about the world outside their own neighborhoods - but it has become bad. Instead of being a positive, multiculturalism is often invoked by people with an agenda; people who want to promote division among their constituents note that the majority will homogenize their beliefs while people against immigration complain about pockets of foreign nationals with unknown motivations inside their cities.
A lot of cultural angst and even more money is tied up in the notion that girls are somehow being left behind and more awareness of the issue, along with programs against sexism, have become common, even at the graduate levels of universities. But the origin of that belief in the last two decades has been a mystery. There are some differences, areas where girls achieved less than boys, and vice-versa. No Child Left Behind was a successful reform of education that led to girls achieving parity with boys in the only area they lagged, mathematics, and a new analysis finds that the concern may have been misplaced all along, individual variance aside.
A long-running gag in film and television comedies is for an employee at a corporation who may be in trouble to invent an illness covered in the policy handbook, such as alcoholism or drug addiction. In those stories, the employee then cannot be fired and all kinds of mechanisms are invoked to show sensitivity and compassion.
What never gets played for laughs is suicide or mental health. Even in Hollywood culture, invariably inclined to faux tolerance and where all bad behavior is dismissed when a celebrity checks 'into rehab', anything related to mental illness beyond 'my therapist says' will cause most people to give a wide berth from then on.
I have recently been enjoying a bit of cross-Atlantic mud-slinging with some of our most prolific writers, most recently on the subject of which is the true and authentic version of Football.
However, there are occasions where the urge to do this must be resisted. Recently, through the agency of Real Clear Science or one of its sister sites, I came across an article
By using spatial analysis software and electronic medical records to identify clusters of under-immunization and vaccine refusal among Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California, researches don't just know where anti-vaccine sentiment is more prominent - that correlates to voting registration and has been well-documented, but now they also know how long the anti-vaccine beliefs have been evident.