Are we listening?

May 27th, 2009

The science is in,
but the people aren’t listening.
How do we get them to listen?
When they no longer hear the sounds of laughter,
the sounds of normal childhood,
through the walls of their homes.
How do we get them to listen?
When they are preoccupied,
looking for something, anything,
whatever took their little one from under their noses.
How do we get them to listen to us?
When they are the ones with stories
that they can tell each other,
that they can use to warn others of
the danger.
Have we really listened to them?

There is an amazing article this week in PLoS Biology by Liza Gross discussing the history of the Autism/Vaccination war. I highly recommend giving it a read.

 McCarthy emerged as a hero for some parents by telling her story. Personal stories resonate most with those who see trust in experts as a risk in itself—a possibility whenever people must grapple with science-based decisions that affect them, whether they’re asked to make sacrifices to help curb global warming or vaccinate their kids for public health. Researchers might consider taking a page out of the hero’s handbook by embracing the power of stories—that is, adding a bit of drama—to show that even though scientists can’t say just what causes autism or how to prevent it, the evidence tells us not to blame vaccines. As news of epidemics spreads along with newly unfettered infectious diseases, those clinging to doubt about vaccines may come to realize that several potentially deadly diseases are just a plane ride, or playground, away—and that vaccines really do save lives.

Michio Kaku on the Big Bang

May 14th, 2009

Dr. Michio Kaku talks about the Big Bang and the Large Hadron Collider… and Elvis.

High School Has An Impact

May 2nd, 2009

According to a study by University of Minnesota researchers, what is taught by high school biology teachers affects the views of their students.

“Co-authors Randy Moore and Sehoya Cotner, professors in the College of Biological Sciences, surveyed 1,000 students taking introductory biology classes at the University of Minnesota to learn how biology majors view evolution compared to non-majors. Results showed that the two groups’ views were similar and revealed that high school biology teachers influence whether majors and non-majors college students accept evolution or question it based on creationism.”

According to the article one-fourth of high school biology teachers believe that creationism can be scientifically validated. I haven’t found access to the original article to validate the reference. But, such a statement is concerning when considered alongside this new paper.