Green Parties aren’t so Green

By @TakeThatGMOs

Image result for jill steinIn this publishing, I will focus on Green parties and environmentalism, and how green parties get environmental protection wrong.

What are Green parties?

Wikipedia defines Green parties as a”Formally organized political party based on the principles of green politics, such as social justice, environmentalism and nonviolence.”

Green parties are found all over the world. Here’s a list of green parties from around the world. The world’s first Green parties began appearing in the early 70s in Germany and Australia. The German Green party was the first Green party to achieve national prominence in their respective country. One of their key pillars was their opposition to nuclear energy.

Green parties and environmental protection

Green parties are primarily concerned in theory with protecting the environment and environmental conservation. That in its own regard is a good cause. The issue lies with how Green parties go about trying to protect the environment.

Green parties are anti-science on nuclear energy

The UK Green Party wants to phase out fossil-fuel based energy generation and nuclear power. Jill stein, the US Green Party’s candidate for president wants to phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. Moreover, Stein has compared nuclear power plants with weapons of mass destruction on more than one occasion.

In this instance, the UK & US Green Parties are wrong on nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is safereliable and clean.

The evidence over six decades shows that nuclear power is a safe means of generating electricity. The risk of accidents in nuclear power plants is low and declining. The consequences of an accident or terrorist attack are minimal compared with other commonly accepted risks. Radiological effects on people of any radioactive releases can be avoided.

Not only that, but nuclear power is the most reliable source of energy in use today and produces the least carbon emissions, even less than solar power.

Capacity Factor by Generating Source
Source: Nuclear Energy Institute

Life Cycle Carbon Emissions
Source: Nuclear Energy Institute
Arguably, the only legitimate concern with nuclear energy is the radioactive waste. Even then, the amounts of nuclear waste produced is negligible, safe to store and can even be used as a resource.

65% of scientists support building more nuclear power plants as opposed to 35% who aren’t sure or don’t support the building of more nuclear power plants.

Green Parties go against the established scientific evidence, and oppose nuclear energy, which is the most reliable way forward for green energy.

Green Parties and GMOs 

GMOs have been established as a safe and very promising technology. Fears about GMOs are completely unwarranted, and go against the established scientific consensus. GMOs may provide the solution to nutrient deficiencies as well as food supply problems in poorer countries. They can be engineered to grow in unfavorable climates as well as be engineered to contain more nutrients, such as beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A in golden rice. Moreover, GMOs can be engineered to produce biofuels, which can be a great way to combat carbon emissions produced by cars, the second largest producer of carbon emissions.

The UK Green Party opposes GMOs, and supports placing a moratorium on them, as well as restrict research on GMOs. Here’s Jill Stein’s take:

Not only is her information on GMOs completely wrong, but she also uses biased sources such as Organic Consumers Union and Union of Concerned Scientists as sources, both of which are incredibly dishonest and have their own agendas to push. The Organic Consumers Union for instance wants to spread the sale of organic food, and so have an obvious benefit in scaring people from buying GMOs.

The Canadian Green Party wants to ban GMOs and stop ANY research done on them. This is the very first paragraph from the CGP’s page on GE organisms:

Genetically engineered (GE) organisms may pose a potentially serious threat to human health and the health of natural ecosystems. Many Canadians want to follow the example of the European Union and ban GE crops. At a minimum, GE products must be labeled, giving consumers the right to know and to say no to GE foods.

Paranoia and fear of GMOs and opposition to them won’t be of any use. GMOs are tested very thoroughly and have huge potential in reducing carbon emissions. Yet again, the stances held by Green parties are not so green.

Alternative Medicine

The GPUS supports alternative medicine:

Greens support a wide range of health care services, not just traditional medicine, which too often emphasizes “a medical arms race” that relies upon high-tech intervention, surgical techniques and costly pharmaceuticals. Chronic conditions are often best cured by alternative medicine. We support the teaching, funding and practice of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and other healing approaches.

Other Woo:

Stein’s infamous rambling about how WiFi can damage children’s minds as well as people having “questions about vaccines” and her claims that the agencies that work on insuring vaccines are safe and reliable are “influenced by pharmaceutical companies”  is the final straw in her scientific credibility.

To conclude:

Green parties and green politics support very noble causes in trying to counteract climate change and work towards protection and conservation. However, Green parties simply don’t follow the science when doing this.

Green parties are just simply not so green.

 

 

Bohemian Rhapsody is about Galileo

queen

By @ScienceWasWrong

For too long I have been silent on this issue. Queen’s 1975 hit single Bohemian Rhapsody is about Galileo. There, I said it. I’m fully aware of the backlash this post will bring. This is the hill I’ve chosen to die on. You may think I’m crazy, but they said the same thing about Galileo and they were wrong and he was right and that can only mean that I am right as well. Eppur si muove.

I will now break the song down verse by verse to defend my contention.

Is this the real life,
or is this just fantasy?

A blatant reference to Galileo’s 1632 book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in which he defended the reality of the heliocentric model against the geocentric fantasy land of Ptolemy.

Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.

Religious dogma is caught in the landslide of scientific progress triggered by the Copernican revolution from which it has no means of escape.

Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see

One has only to look to the skies, to the phases of Venus and movement of Jupiter’s moons, to see that Galileo is correct.

I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,
Because I’m easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low,
Anyway the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me.

An obvious reference to Galileo’s famous experiment in which he dropped spheres of different masses from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to test Aristotle’s theory that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. It was easy to convince people of the theory, but it was also easy to disprove. Whether their mass is high or low, they all fall at the same rate. The slight irregularity in their fall times due to wind resistance doesn’t really matter, to Galileo.

Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead.

The man is geocentrism and the gun is Galileo’s telescope.

Mama, life had just begun,
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.

Galileo’s mother is a metaphor for science. The life of modern science had just begun, but Galileo is about to throw his life away for it.

Mama, ooh,
Didn’t mean to make you cry,
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.

Galileo says his goodbyes to science before facing the inquisition. If he is found guilty, it should carry on making discoveries without him.

Too late, my time has come,
Sent shivers down my spine,
Body’s aching all the time.
Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.

Galileo is getting old and is ready to leave the trolls and naysayers behind to face the truth (as I’m doing here).

Mama, ooh (anyway the wind blows),
I don’t wanna die,
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.

Nothing to see here, just Galileo being all melodramatic about the possibility of being put to death.

I see a little silhouetto of a man.

The little silhouetto of man is Pope Urban VIII.

Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?

Scaramouche was a roguish clown character in Italian comedies who dressed in black, much like Galileo’s inquisitor, Vincenzo Maculani, who preferred to wear a black cappa instead of the traditional bright purple garb of a cardinal. The Pope is asking Maculani to interrogate Galileo, or do the fandango – a dance for two.

 

Galileo_facing_the_Roman_Inquisition

Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me.

The inquisitors try to scare Galileo into recanting by threatening him with the wrath of God.

(Galileo) Galileo. (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro Magnifico.

I’m not sure what this part of the song has to do with Galileo.

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me.
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this monstrosity.

The choir voice of science interjects on behalf of Galileo to the monstrosity of the Catholic church.

Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Will not let you go. (Let me go!)
Never, never let you go
Never let me go, oh.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Oh, mama mia, mama mia (Mama mia, let me go.)

The choir voices of science and religion do battle over what is to become of Galileo.

Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.

Galileo is found vehemently suspect of heresy.

[headbanging guitar solo]

This represents the badassery of Galileo’s quip: “Eppur si muove.

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby,
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.

Galileo reflecting on the fact that house arrest kinda sucks.

Nothing really matters,
Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me.

Galileo is depressed that nothing he did really mattered because assorted dipshits and elected officials in the 21st century will think that he was put to death for discovering that the earth wasn’t flat for some reason and compare themselves to him whilst making stupid anti-science arguments.

Any way the wind blows.

Seriously, he doesn’t care about the stupid wind resistance.

waynes world

What’s the Next Battle Against Pseudoscience on GMOs? 

By @TakeThatGMOs

  The ‘War on Science’ as it is called, is an endless ‘war’ that will last with us humans however ling we live. The main objectives, should they exist, can never be fully fulfilled. As Steven Novella puts it – and as some wars go – when it comes to the War on Science, the only focus should be on the next battle, and not the whole war, as this is one of the most unpredictable and unstable wars. When it comes to GMOs, what should that next battle be?

First up: politics

The current political battleground hangs mostly on labelling GMOs in the USA and the current delays in the EU. Things in either side are going very slowly. The anti-GMO movement certainly  hasn’t persuaded everyone to join in and label, and it appears that quite the opposite is happening, with celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and many others using their fame, in a way, to help push for the pro-GMO side. The public is getting to hear more of the pro-GMO side and the pro-GMO side is louder than ever, as it showed during the March Against Myths (counter protesters against the March Against Monsanto) campaign. 

Another side here is the Republicans, who tend to be more pro-corporate and so may support GMOs more. This however may be shaken up with Bernie Sanders, who gets the case about labelling wrong. As I’ve discussed in a previous article, labelling GMOs is the wrong side to take here, and won’t be the most helpful choice. It is also important to remember that labelling is only the first step, and making labelling a federal mandate will only open up the doors for more action against GMOs. If GMOs do get down that very unlikely path, the end for biotech would be near. 

Which gets me to my point. Many, many scientific organisations, biotech companies (including drug manufacturers) and millions of people would stand against such a law. Monsanto would probably take it to the SCOTUS and scientific organisations would stand against such a thing in either way. Since GMOs are under no real threat right now, considering Obama’s very scientific agenda, we can try avoiding all of this by furthering science to the public. 

Most common myths

GMOs are practically enshrined in myths. So much information and, therefore, misinformation exists about GMOs. It is arguably the biggest pseudoscience topic, as I’ve argued before.

The existence of so many fronts to battle on and the lack of a public consensus as well as the education system being littered with such misinformation and the general image of ‘natural is better’ makes this a very tough battle. To summarise previous statements from this article, the consensus on vaccines and evolution is far, far bigger in the scientific community, and those denying evolution are the minority of the US population. Likewise, a big scientific consensus exists on vaccines and most of the population is vaccinated or is pro-vaccines. It is true that GMOs have a big scientific consensus, beating climate change and standing at 88%, however this is no good as the public has the worst scientific record on GMOs, with the pro-science side only being a major minority. 

  I always use this picture to demonstrate my points. I’m tired of doing that. 

To obviously win the battle on the public front (a very strategic front as it affects legislation as well) we need to go in one bit by another. We don’t have the huge majority of scientists that quickly come through and debunk creationism. We have a lot of scientists worrying about the GMOs, yet it’s just as much of a pseudoscience as creationism. To be fair the most concerns aren’t about safety but wrong information is wrong information. This is bad (obviously). To make problems worse, the GMOs campaign also (similarly to the vaccines and climate change campaigns) opens up to economics and ethics. Those things don’t make the issue here any easier. Evolution v creationism only focuses on science. That’s it. But the extent of the aspects affecting GMOs here is one of the reasons the pseudoscience on GMOs hasn’t been stopped. The above things mentioned makes this THE worst issue to deal with. 

To slowly and gradually win over public support, what’s the next battle that should be fought over GMOs? The scientific bit. That may, unhelpfully, sound a bit vague. Currently the debated health impacts and environmental impacts are what inspire people to join. These are the false ideas that make people passionate and want to spread their messege. Thankfully as well, more and more of the public knows not to fall for this and instead picks on Monsanto, ethics and economics (upcoming article). Getting people in the ‘pro-GMO; anti-Monsanto’ area is a great success on our part and can get us to be able to drive home the labelling question and solve the larger problem on the small, meaningless details. 

Here’s the thing, the issue over safety is not only the backbone of the anti-GMO movement but also it’s heart. Taking out that heart will kill the rest of the body. 

It is also the most useful battle as we’re already winning it. I see many people, for example in SciShow’s recent video about GMOs, accepting the facts over safety but jumping on the patents and contamination issues. In this way, the issue starts to move over from public VS GMOs and labelling to the public VS Monsanto, which has less to do with legislation and laws and science and GMOs and more to do with corporations and ethics. GMOs that are helpful would be widely accepted.

Maybe the end is in sight for the anti-GMO movement. 

Wait, what’s that ringing sound. Oh, Dr Mercola just published his latest article and people are already retweeting. Crap. 

A New Podcast: Take That Podcast!

By @tkthtetymology & @TakeThatGMOs  From our test run. More shenanigans.

Would you like to take something new, all the way into your earholes? Let the upcoming Take That Podcast bang your eardrum and hammer your anvil with skepticism and shenanigans. Our maiden voyage will sail this weekend and be released early next week, featuring TakeThatDarwin, TakeThatGMOs, TakeThatReason, TakeThatEtymology, and TakeThatGodwin. You know someone who never listened to a podcast? Hitler.

It’ll be a general discussion, with some science and skepticism. Basically more of the same shenanigans. 

If you have any questions you’d like addressed on the podcast, let us know on Twitter or here. Or on the streets.

Lokiarchaeum: Another Thing Creationists Are Going to Ignore

by @TakeThatDarwin

Loki
“My brother, how I have always envied your kingly poise, your athletic build, and your soft, pouty lips.”

Two weeks ago, a Swedish team revealed that, while sifting through sediment near Loki’s Castle, a field of hydrothermal vents in the Arctic Ocean, they had discovered metagenomic evidence of a hitherto unknown phylum of the kingdom Archaea. This phylum straddles the line between prokaryotes, simple single-celled organisms which have no nuclei or organelles, and eukaryotes, the domain of more complex organisms that also contains all multicellular life. Some publications have gone so far as to describe this phylum — Lokiarchaeota, named after Tom Hiddleston’s character in “The Avengers” — as the “missing link” in eukaryote evolution, even though personally I wish they wouldn’t, because usually use of the term “missing link” causes creationists to put on their Denouncing Hats and start shrieking.

Curiously, creationists haven’t yet weighed in on this discovery. Perhaps they’re waiting for Answers in Genesis to write a blog post indicating the Official Creationist Position on Lokiarchaeum. Or maybe they just haven’t yet noticed; considering many creationists still maintain that rock can’t bend, a phenomenon which was described a century ago, it’s fair to conclude that it takes creationists a while to catch up with the scientific zeitgeist.

"Just as I have long envied your tousled raven-black locks, silky-smooth alabaster skin, and butt that just won't quit, my brother."
“Just as I have long envied your tousled raven-black locks, silky-smooth alabaster skin, and butt that just won’t quit, my brother.”

Whatever the reason for their delay, though, I can hazard a guess what creationists will say once they finally get around to saying something about Lokiarchaeum: “God made it that way.” Sure, evidence of single-celled life with primitive organelles appears to support evolution, and is exactly what evolutionary theory predicts and requires, but it’s also perfectly consistent with an omnipotent, whimsical being who just magically whips up life that appears to have transitional features because why not. Never mind that six-limbed mammals, bats that lay eggs, lactating invertebrates, and birds with compound eyes would also be perfectly consistent with a supernatural, omnipotent creator and yet completely devastating to evolutionary theory, and that, in His divine wisdom, God chose only to make organisms that fit flawlessly within the nested hierarchy that evolutionary theory demands.

Smooch
“Mmf. Glrmf. Slrp. Is this weird?”
“Nay, my brother. We’re not actually blood relatives.”
“Oh, yeah, cool.”

The strength of evolutionary theory is that it can’t explain all conceivable evidence. What it does is explain the evidence that actually exists and provide a framework for new predictions. We will never dig up a fossil of a six-limbed mammal. If evolution is true, there can be no such thing. Creationism can make no such predictions. And since the creator they worship restricts His creative vision to only those organisms which could have naturally evolved, perhaps in an effort to trick people, that makes God a bit sneaky, doesn’t it? Kind of mischievous.

Not unlike Loki.

Does Hillary Clinton believe in evolution?

The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign season is quickly approaching. Many politicians have already declared their candidacy. Over the next eighteen months we will hear their platforms expanded upon ad nauseam. I consider the candidates’ views on scientific issues to be important. This will be the beginning of a series where I examine the presidential hopefuls and investigate their stances on evolution. Do they consider evolution to be a scientific fact? Are there any signs of support for the teaching of intelligent design in biology class? I’ll start with the presumptive democratic nominee: Hillary Clinton.

First of all, let’s not be pedantic. Sometimes people will object to the phrase “believe in evolution” because it can imply that evolution is a matter of opinion. Claiming to “accept evolution” may be a better way of phrasing it, but let’s avoid that route for our purposes here. The word “believe” can mean to “have confidence in the truth or reliability” of something. That suits this situation well enough.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at a couple of statements Clinton has made about evolution. In a 2007 interview, Senator Clinton said “I believe in evolution, and I am shocked at some of the things that people in public life have been saying,” That shot at “people in public life” was referring to some of the republican candidates for the presidency openly denying evolution. You can see some of those candidates, such as Mike Huckabee, in this debate clip.
Clinton continued: “I believe that our founders had faith in reason and they also had faith in God, and one of our gifts from God is the ability to reason.” Politically, that was a satisfactory answer. She didn’t alienate religious people, but instead urged them to use the brain that they believe was intelligently designed.

If we go back another decade, we can find a couple relevant lines in her book “It Takes a Village.” She proposed this as a basic educational principle: “Schools may not provide religious instruction, but they may teach about the Bible, civic values and virtue, and moral codes, as long as they remain neutral with respect to the promotion of any particular religion.” That seems like clear opposition to creationism or Intelligent Design having any kind of foothold in a science classroom.

None of these references to evolution are recent. The book excerpt is from almost 20 years ago and the interview was nearly a decade ago. I’d say we can assume that she hasn’t been won over by the creationists since then. A needless comment about reason being a gift from God withstanding, her statements are clearly pro-evolution. Democrats may have some concerns about candidate Clinton, but this shouldn’t be one of them.

Take That, General Ignorance

Danger_HazChemicals__12900.1405472534.1280.1280

By @TehFoodBae

Here at Teh Food Bae Labs, we have one simple guideline for deciding what is good and what is bad for you: “Don’t ingest what you can’t pronounce.” Unluckily for us, in a world that’s getting stupider because of fluoride in our water, chemtrails in our skies, and GMOs in our foods, it’s often difficult to know where to start , so some things are getting harder to pronounce.

THE DANGER: DYHYDROGEN MONOXIDE IS EVERYWHERE

That’s right! There are many chemicals in foods, including many that you will find in your household, including that ever-present bugbear dihydrogen monoxide. My tests have shown conclusively that MOST of the food we eat, and EVERYTHING we drink contains this chemical. Want to know more about this insidious chemical? The website dhmo.org has this to say about it:

“Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.”

As alarming as this is, DHMO has been responsible for countless deaths WORLDWIDE. according to the World Health Organisation, DHMO poisoning is the “ 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths” accounting for “an estimated 372,000 annual … deaths worldwide.”

The fact is, that DHMO can cause these side effects:

Worse than this, DHMO is all around us! In fact, DHMO is present in YOUR BODY in quantities up to 70%, depending on your body weight and size, and how much activity you undertake. DHMO can even leach out of your pores in times of physical and emotional distress, causing your body to lose heat through evaporation. DHMO is also prevalent in our environment; It’s in the air we breathe, in

DHMO IS EVIL!

THE RUB:

Only, it’s not. All of these overblown claims above are actually true, and DHMO is also known as water. Yep, it’s water, the lifeblood of our planet. What I’m pointing out here is that there are many out there who make a living from creating a false hype around our safety, and they do this by using large and unfamiliar words for common household items. That water can also be called “hydric acid” is often enough for ignorant people to get scared and try to remove these evil chemicals from their lives. But everything is chemicals, in fact, chemicals make up everything.

This is what I like to call “misrepresenting what is easily mispronounced”.

So be wary every time you hear either a positive or negative health claim from someone who stands to make money from whether or not you choose to believe their words. It may be genuine concern caused by ignorance, or it may be that the person selling you their miracle cure actually stands to gain from your ignorance.

Take This Blog

Greetings and behold! We are a group of skeptics (some might say skepdicks, especially when arguing, ah ha ha) who are sometimes known as the Take That Crowd on Twitter. If you’re here you have probably come to know and love/hate us for showing off the best of the worst arguments presented by creationists, new agers, conspiracy theorists, insane racists, various bigots, and others for whom evidence and logic do not fall high on the list of virtues. But now the fun and excitement can no longer be contained in 140-character bursts, and so we offer you this blog, and give you the chance to Take This Blog. Watch this space for:

  • Additional information regarding refutations of terrible arguments
  • Highlights of the most amusing Specimens
  • Off-Twitter Specimens
  • Additional skeptical topics
  • Interviews
  • Shenanigans

Is there something else you’d like to see, or do you have a request for a specific article? Comment here or send us a Tweet to @takethisblog Cheers, #ttcot