Science

If Liberals Really Believe In Science Then They Have To Stop Attacking GMOs

My Facebook feed is littered with posts, articles, and opinions of my liberal friends posting about the overwhelming science that supports that climate change is real, and that the deniers need to look at the proof.

However, many of these same friends will turn around and post article after article on why GMOs are terrible for you and how they harm your body.

But where’s the actual science that supports that?

Seems like a problematic double standard.

The vast majority of scientific research points to the fact that GMOs are not harmful to the human body nor the environment.

In fact, the National Academy of Sciences just released a report of a review of hundreds of research articles, testimonies, and questions about the safety of GMOs.

So where is the disconnect – and why do so many liberals acknowledge the majority of scientists that support climate change, but not the majority that supports that GMOs are not bad for you?

If you look at political demographics, you see that 70% of Democrats trust scientists to research climate change, while only 15% of Republicans support that.

Many progressives are distrustful of GMO’s. Photo Credit: Donna Cleveland/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Alternatively, 56% of Democrats believe that GMOs are unsafe to eat, while 51% of Republicans say the same – with only 43% of Democrats and 38% of Republicans saying that they are safe to eat.

When you examine the perception of GMOs in the United States, you’ll see many arguments against GMOs – from the “evils” of the Monsanto Chemical company, to people boycotting and protesting Roundup Ready crops.

This opposition stems from scientific research that is full of fraudulent misinformation, and they don’t examine the good that GMOs are able to accomplish, like the papaya crop success in Hawaii ten years ago, or the fact that scientists are trying to modify cows to produce less methane gas to, ya know, reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The latter bit would help combat climate change in a real way. 

Now, personally, I identify as a liberal, and I am 110% for questioning scientific research and letting new discoveries and inventions be properly vetted before being released into the public.

But at some point, the line needs to be drawn.

And to my liberal friends – I only have one message: Get. It. Together.

If we’re going to promote and support the majority of science that says climate change is a reality, then let’s stay constant and support the majority that says GMOs are not bad for you.

If we’re going to fight to save this planet from drastic climate and environmental change, then support the people who are actually trying to do that.

You want to make sure that the projected 9.7 billion people on this world in 2050 are going to have food?

Photo Credit: Daniel Arauz/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Then let’s support the scientists who are trying to feed people.

Let’s support the science and the research that is going towards trying to make food more affordable, more nutritious, more accessible, and more easily grown.

The population of the world isn’t going to magically go stagnant or go down, and if you didn’t know, growing food is hard.

We are able to feed 155 people per farmer currently.

In 1960, that number was 25.8.

If y’all want to be able to affordably eat within the next 50 years, if you want to help feed those less fortunate than you, and if you want to protect our planet, then start supporting and trusting the scientists who know what they’re doing.

Be consistent.

If we’re going to say we support science and validated research, then hold up that promise and start supporting all the validated science, not just the ones you want to.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Paul Sableman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Science Academia Is Still Sexist As Hell

Science is not supposed to be about gender.

The purpose of science is to allow clarity in a world with very little understanding.

Unfortunately, many in prominent positions of American life have made it about gender.

In 2015, a reporter from Breitbart News published an article called, “Here’s why there ought to be a cap on women studying science and maths”.

Seriously.

We can laugh at the ridiculous concept of it, but science is still a sexist field.

Women are expected to fail because they supposedly cannot handle the competition from being in a predominately male field.

They are expected to either deal with sexism in the workplace, or leave.

Dr. Gillian Foulger works at Durham University in the U.K., and she worries that women are still treated the same way that she was in graduate school during the 1980’s.

Her graduate program gave women 1/10 of the spots that men had.

Students on a class trip to a science fair in 1985. Photo Credit: Chad Kainz/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Her teachers were supposed to be all female, and there were so few women in geology that many of her professors did not know new scientific concepts.

After she graduated, she was refused the same opportunities that men were getting, such as positions at geological societies and oil companies, despite the fact she excelled in university.

Foulger was forced to look for opportunities abroad, eventually becoming a volcanologist in Iceland.

There, she had to continuously deal with sexist and xenophobic stereotypes during her tenure.

Students in the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment record soil structure. Photo Credit: Dave Brenner/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

At one point, her male field assistant sexually harassed her.

“I had to lock my door at night to prevent him from breaking in and raping me,” she told me over the phone with little emotion.

It was, and still is, a fact that women are commonly sexually harassed during their time in academia.

“This is the sort of thing I have done for science, Hannah,” Foulger said to me as her voice hardened slightly. “I have done this because science is me. I love science. I don’t consider myself really ‘a woman’, or ‘a man’, or ‘a person’. I consider myself ‘a scientist’.”

She accepted the scorn and abuse from her male colleagues in order to further science.

The main argument of the Breitbart article is that the retention rate for women is low, so funding women in science is a waste of money.

The author is not wrong about the poor retention rate.

Women may earn more than 50% of the degrees in STEM PhD programs, but after graduate school, the numbers of women in science begin to decline rapidly.

In fact, women only make up 21% of full science professors and tend to make half of what their male counterparts make.

Dr. Foulger told me that women leave science because “the environment is stacked against women.”

She also said it is hostile to women.

“Women are not in positions where they can help those who are at a more junior level than themselves,” Foulger said. “So of course they drop out! They are forced out! Males expect women to drop out.”

If you also consider that married mothers are 35% less likely to get a tenure track position than married fathers, and 27% less likely to become tenured, you can probably guess why women feel like they cannot succeed in science.

Dr. Catherine Cardelús, an ecologist at Colgate University, has a similar perspective.

“The author [of the Breitbart article] does not look at the heart of the problem, which is that women do not have the support or infrastructure that they needed,” Cardelús said.

When Cardelús got her PhD in 2002, she was married with children to another professor, and she said that the men in her program expected her and the other women to fail.

Dr. Catherine Cardelús, is an ecologist at Colgate University. She claims that science is not welcoming to women. Photo Credit: Colgate University

Luckily she and one of her friends, who was also a mother, made a deal that they would not drop out of their program.

Despite the discrimination against them, the two women received their degrees and pursued success.

The best way to deal with discrimination in science is by creating representation.

“My presence alone as a woman in science teaching tells people that women can do it,” Dr. Cardelús said, leaning across the small wooden table in her office, her eyes full of defiance. “Everybody should be able to do what they want. There should not be barriers.”

Unfortunately, it is difficult to convince anyone to pursue a career in academia when the odds are already stacked against you.

A lot of the time, it is less emotionally draining to leave academia with a PhD and pursue opportunities in industry.

To compensate for the extra pressure women tend to feel in science, it is important to build a community.

While we can succeed alone, science is much more likely to move forward with everyone working towards a common goal—education and progress.

The best way to get more women in science is establishing a community of women from the beginning, and moving past stereotypes to allow women to take on more important roles.

We need to support our women and other oppressed groups as they pursue a career in science, because the inclusion of different perspectives will push science into the future.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: simpleinsomnia/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

This Website Shows You What It’s Like To Have Dyslexia

Can you read this passage?:

JPEGScreen Shot 2016-03-08 at 3.35.03 PM

Of course you can’t.

And that’s what this website about the difficulty of having dyslexia is trying to demonstrate.

Upwards of 7% of the population has dyslexia, making it one of the most common learning disabilities in the world and yet many people don’t really understand it.

While this site may be a bit of an exaggeration, it also does a good job of driving the point home.

Let us know in the comments below if the site is a good representation of your experience with dyslexia.

H/T: Gizmodo

Cover Photo Credit: Eye to Eye National/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Is Humankind Really Ready For The First Head Transplant?

This article first appeared on The Conversation. In a 1978 essay titled “Where Am I?” the philosopher Daniel Dennett suggested that the brain was the only organ of which it’s better to be a transplant donor than recipient. Now Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero wants to turn philosophical thought experiments into reality by transplanting the head of… Read More

Study Finds That Frequent Emoji Users Think A Lot About Sex

We found that something as innocuous as a food item emoji icon can be employed to denote body parts or sex when Instagram banned the eggplant emoji from its search algorithm earlier this year after it was used to tag “lewd” photos of men and their, um, well, eggplants. Perhaps to no surprise to fans of… Read More

Scientists May Have Found Evidence Of An Alternate Universe. Seriously

Scientists claim that they may have just found evidence of the existence of an alternate universe.

The discovery was made while mapping the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which is the left over light from the early universe.

Ranga-Ram Chary, an astrophysicist at the European Space Agency’s Planck Space Telescope data center at Caltech, discovered while studying the CMB that certain light spots were glowing 4,500 times brighter than expected, as reported by Russia Today (RT).

According the International Business Times, Chary has said that while there is a 30% chance the fluctuations are nothing unusual, there is also the possibility they provide evidence of a collision of our Universe with an alternate Universe.

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This sort of collision should be possible, according to modern cosmological theories that suggest the universe we see is just one bubble among many, according to New Scientist.

“Our universe may simply be a region within an eternally inflating super-region,” Chary wrote in a recent study. “Many other regions beyond our observable universe would exist with each such region governed by a different set of physical parameters.”

The multiverse theory has been based on the widely accepted idea of cosmic inflation, which suggests that the early universe expanded exponentially in an instant following the explosion of the Big Bang. Theoretically the inflation would continue until multiple universes are ultimately created.

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Although the initial findings have proved promising, verification of the anomalies as evidence of an alternate universe could prove to be difficult.

Chary himself noted that, “Unusual claims like evidence for alternate universes require a very high burden of proof.”

Further analysis of the data collected will be required in order to prove or disprove Chary’s potential discovery.

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Cover Photo Credit: Sweetie187/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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