Category Archives: Science Policy

The Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Debate

If you are in Kentucky and have an extra 30 bucks lying around (mainly because you wouldn’t want to donate that money to scientific cancer research or anything like that) then you can go visit the Creation Museum!

Quit frankly it seems like a really fun place, especially for kids. If it wasn’t pushed as the ultimate truth, and it were left as a fun children’s playground, I might not be so opposed. The issue is that the founders of the Creation Museum seem to think that scientific theories are just something that you sit around and make up based on what you believe. There seems to be a huge disconnect between understanding the scientific process and how it leads to scientific theory. The museum doesn’t end at creationism. You can also catch shows at the planetarium such as “The Christmas Star,” where you can learn about “possible” explanations for the “star” that led the wise men to Christ.

This brings us to the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the head of the creation museum. Bill Nye has been a fierce advocate for science, and Ken Ham has been a strong preacher of creationism. Before the debate, there was a fair amount of criticism regarding Bill Nye actually debating a creationist. I am personally am all for it. You absolutely need to talk with people who have opposing views to share your ideas, and not turn your nose up at them.

For an overview of the debate, you can click here. I’m posting  the full debate below:

“So it sounds to me, just listening to you over the last two minutes, that there are certain parts of this document, the bible, that you embrace literally, and other parts that you consider poetry. So it sounds to me in those last two minutes like you’re going to take what you like, interpret literally, and other passages you’re going to interpret as poetic descriptions of human events.”

-Bill Nye

It’s still a trend though, right? Right?

Sure, just find a periodic function to fit this data. Be sure to include that last part. Then we can talk.

Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reaching 400 PPM (for more information).

Ice-core_co2

NSF Science Must “Directly Benefit the American People”

LamarSmith

It already does, but Representative Lamar Smith thinks that there are many scientists that are schemers out to steal money from the government. In fact, he decided to pick out a few projects that didn’t interest him to use as examples of how NSF just throws money to “useless” research.

Additionally, he would like Congress to get involved in the peer review process, because congress has such great track record of being efficient and solving problems. When we start moving away from the peer review process, and into the “I am judging this research based on my feelings, even though I am a politician and not a scientist” process, problems arise. Scientists work very hard to convey research to the public as well as agencies such as NSF. However, many fields go into such intricate detail that it is necessary to have other people in the field review the scientific project proposed. Many researchers are adding a tiny grain of sand to the astoundingly large world of research. Some research leads to things that we don’t notice like an improved polymer, or a tiny addition to a huge model of the climate, or a small statistical study that opens up new questions about the ways in which we are currently running our society.

Lamar Smith is a climate change critic, a trendy thing in the Republican Party. This goes to show that he is not spending a lot of time delving into the research itself, and attempting to understand it. I am happy that he at least read through some of the NSF proposals, but what he should really spend time doing is reading some of the peer reviewed papers that have come out of research, and the citations of those papers.