Science & Society

Though activists on the poles of science and religion see science and religion as being in conflict, most in science and most of the public do not. Instead, most recognize 'non-overlapping magisteria' and leave the philosophical subjects aside to theologians and explaining the universe according to natural laws to scientists.
Dave Goulson’s latest anti-pesticide study is sure to thrill his activist backers. The University of Sussex biology professor has a new study concerning declining butterfly populations in the UK, which he claims “adds to the growing mountain of evidence that neonicotinoids are one of the causes of these declines.” It’s yet another case of the headlines not matching reality.

Though more urbanization has been linked by activists to better environment and various other social engineering desires, science has instead demonstrated the benefits of contact with nature for human well-being.

Rather than criticizing rural life while lobbying for more spending on city green spaces, it makes more sense to talk about just getting people out of the city mentality. For a paper in 
BioScience, scholars used nationally representative data from the United Kingdom and model testing to examine the relationships between objective measures and self-reported assessments of contact with nature, community cohesion, and local crime incidence.


When you see someone wandering all over the street because they are on the phone, it is irksome. When you have to reply to a text, not so much.

At Science 2.0 we call this phenomenon "mobile drift" but the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons lumps such mobile deadwalkers under the term "distracted walking." They find that more than three quarters (78 percent) of U.S. adults believe that distracted walking is a "serious" issue; however, 74 percent of Americans say "other people" are usually or always walking while distracted, while only 29 percent say the same about themselves. 


Recently, the American actress Jennifer Lawrence said she could never be a Republican even though she was 'raised' Republican. To the American public, that was no surprise, it is quite common for kids to rebel in lots of ways, including in politics, and Republicans in the Hollywood community, where fantasy is the core business, are rare.


More than half, namely 60% of college graduates are female. Is this discrimination against men? And is the currently loudly demanded (and at Missouri University apparently well received) number of 10% Black faculty reasonable, or is this rather racist anti-East-Asian anti-Semitic discrimination?

Scholars have additional evidence that among U.S. adults some recent cigarette quitters may have done so with the assistance of electronic cigarettes.

The research informs the ongoing debate as to whether e-cigarettes are effective aids for smoking cessation or instead promote uptake by non-tobacco users.


A recent paper examined the changing nature of family living situations. University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Cassandra Szoeke and Katherine Burn, from the University's Faculty of Medicine, Health and Dentistry Sciences, examined both 'boomerang kids' (those who return home) and 'failure to launch' kids (those who never left).

The project reviewed 20 studies involving 20 million people worldwide and was published in Maturitas.

The research shows:

  • The shifting economic climate and changes in social norms were driving the phenomenon of kids staying at home for longer.


Sixty percent of Australians have been the target of online harassment and abuse, with women and young adults most likely to report being sexually harassed online. One in 10 adults said someone had shared a nude or semi-nude image of them without their consent.

The results reveal victims of online harassment and abuse are both male and female, with women twice as likely to be targeted by male offenders and men also twice as likely to be the perpetrators of digital abuse.

More than name calling or offensive remarks, digital abuse included sexual harassment, threats and cyber stalking. 


On Twitter #BlackOnCampus is a collection anecdotes of racial aggression and microaggression.  What does science say? What is the context for these tweets?  I am only one person and can only speak for myself.  However, many others on Twitter are sharing their own stories of what it is like to be #BlackOnCampus.   Those who are not from the United States and those who are not black may be surprised to find out that there are still very real issues with racism.  Things have gotten better even during my life time.