Can a Beautiful Website of Facts Change Anybody’s Mind?

“Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft chief executive, wants to improve the national political debate with a treasure trove of facts about government. The post-truth age might not be so receptive.

“It’s an honorable idea. But facts alone are feeble things. Given more information, most people don’t change their minds, even when the new data seems to support the opposite argument. They convince themselves that the information is misleading (“alternative”) or simply wrong (“fake). They tune out stuff that’s uncomfortable to hear and tune in to cable news programs like reliably tell them that their intuition about the world is even more right than they knew. When most apocalyptic cults face irrefutable proof that they miscalculated the end of days, they don’t call it quits and return to their normal pre-doomsday lives.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/can-a-beautiful-website-of-facts-change-anybodys-mind/523563/

“You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you.”

Why are people so reluctant to change their minds? This well-researched and well-presented cartoon delves into that very important question. It also helps elucidate the relationship between emotion and reason when our belief system is challenged.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 7.03.09 PM

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe

Sex abuse victim in her 20s allowed by doctors to choose euthanasia due to ‘incurable’ PTSD

This article raises interesting questions around who has the right to euthanasia. Often people think of elderly or people with illnesses such as cancer as those “worthy” of euthanasia. What of those with psychological trauma? Furthermore, who gets to decide whether a person is worthy of legally ending their own life?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/sex-abuse-victim-in-her-20s-allowed-by-dutch-doctors-to-undergo-euthanasia-due-to-severe-ptsd-a7023666.html

There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?

Interesting podcast episode that delves into whether sugar should be regulated. In evaluating that claim, they delve into the difficulty of proving claims of about health and nutrition scientifically. What does good science look like in nutrition? How do you prove a causal relationship? Both relevant questions when we look at this issue.
“Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it’s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from  a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.”

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/theres-war-sugar-justified/

Planet Money Podcast: What does Georgetown owe the descendants of the 272 slaves it sold in 1838?

“In 1838, Jesuit priests sold a group of 272 men, women, and children – slaves – to pay off Georgetown University’s debts. The slaves were sent from Maryland to Louisiana. In part one of this two part episode, we told the story of how the residents of a small town discovered where they’d come from. Now in part two, we ask what, if anything, Georgetown owes the descendants of those slaves.”

Parts One and Two linked below

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/04/21/525058118/episode-766-georgetown-louisiana-part-one

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/04/26/525769269/episode-767-georgetown-louisiana-part-two

Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever – CRISPR

“Designer babies, the end of diseases, genetically modified humans that never age. Outrageous things that used to be science fiction are suddenly becoming reality. The only thing we know for sure is that things will change irreversibly.”

 

What you need to know about CRISPR | Ellen Jorgensen

Should we bring back the wooly mammoth? Or edit a human embryo? Or wipe out an entire species that we consider harmful? The genome-editing technology CRISPR has made extraordinary questions like these legitimate — but how does it work? Scientist and community lab advocate Ellen Jorgensen is on a mission to explain the myths and realities of CRISPR, hype-free, to the non-scientists among us.