AAAS Report #5: Science Under Attack

By Phil Plait | February 20, 2006 11:03 pm

This entry is long. I hope you understand why after you finish reading it. I try not to post long entries very often, but when I do, it’s because I have something I really need to say.

I’ve been discussing the AAAS meeting in the past few entries, but I haven’t said just why I came to the meeting. I was invited to participate on a panel discussing the current attacks on science, both by fundamentalist religions and by ideological politics. On the panel would be experts on biology, education, creationists, and, well, me. I decided to tackle the astronomical nonsense coming from young Earth creationists. They approved of my topic, so I prepared a talk; basically, very similar to what I was going to say at James Randi’s The Amaz!ng Meeting.

A day or two before the talk, however, I had a change of heart. I decided to totally change my talk, even the topic.

Mind you, I never ever do this. Ever. When I say I’m giving a certain talk, that’s what I give.

But things had changed a bit since I sent in my topic idea. The big thing was the George Deutsch business. Speaking up about him on this blog was not like anything I had done before. Obviously, though, I couldn’t leave this topic alone any more. I’ve been watching science suffer terribly these past few years, and I could no longer keep quiet.

After watching things go by for so long, speaking up felt very right to me. So I decided to change my panel topic. I want to get other people to talk about this. The more scientists we get speaking publicly, the more likely it is people will take action. But the first step is to just get people aware of what’s going on.

So I started taking a lot of notes the night before my talk, and worked all morning researching and scrawling down ideas. I was feeling a bit weird about it, and I was getting nervous. That, plus I’d be speaking in front of scientists, as well as several people I respect immensely, added to my jitters.

The time finally came, and the other speakers talked one by one. First up was Genie Scott, a tireless crusader (har har) against creationism in all its guises. She is the leading fighter against Intelligent Design, and was involved in the Kitzmiller case in Dover, Pennsylvania. She talked eloquently about the recent attacks on science by these groups.

The other speakers included researcher Jon Miller, who gave an excellent talk about the percentages of Americans who think evolution is or is not real. It was fascinating; most Americans (90%!) feel that their lives are better because of science, yet 50% of Americans think that we depend too much on science and not enough on faith. A full 40% reject evolution! We rank 33rd out of 34 countries (just above Turkey) in accepting evolution. How weird is that? I wonder if those 40% get vaccinations for viruses, or take antibiotics?

Other speakers gave equally provocative talks, but finally it was my turn. I had a lot of stuff to say, I really did. I got to about ¼ of it before time ran out. Figures.

I talked about Deutsch, giving an overview of that affair. I talked about not just creationism, but ideological attacks on astronomy, and other sciences. I talked about how this Administration talks the talk about science, but doesn’t walk the walk. How Bush wants to go the Moon, but hasn’t funded it, and that’s why NASA had to cut huge amounts of science from their plans to pay for it (a diatribe for another, not too distant day).

I then gave advice, such as it’s worth, to those in the room. This part was something I wrote down before the speech, so I can post it here for you to see. I can’t conclude this blog better than with what I wrote, so I’ll leave you with these thoughts.

What can we do about this situation, this attack on science and scientists? In this audience are scientists, educators, and journalists. As someone who can lay claim to all three professions, let me tell you what I think.

To the scientists, find the best among you who can communicate. Not just professionally, though that helps. We need people who can talk to people, explain not just the science, but the joy, the wonder, the sense of awe we as scientific explorers get. You want people to want to understand science? Let them see the twinkle in your eye when you describe why we do what we do.

To the media, please, don’t simply take what people say and repeat it. Don’t feel the need to get "balance" in your reporting by talking to "both sides". Sometimes there aren’t two sides! If someone builds a Holocaust museum, would you interview a white supremacist who says the Holocaust never happened to achieve "balance"? When a new vaccine comes out for a virus, would you interview a homeopath so that "both sides are heard"? This administration has put a jack-booted heel to the throat of science for years, and it’s the media’s responsibility to shine a light on it. I’ll admit to not pulling my weight in this issue, but, obviously, that stops today.

And finally to the educators: don’t just teach rote science. Science isn’t memorization, it isn’t a dry compendium of facts, dates, numbers. It’s like a living, breathing thing, it grows, it repairs itself. Science brings us knowledge, wonder, enlightenment. That’s what you should teach your students. The content will come after their minds are primed. Teach them the joy of discovery, and maybe these attacks on science will wither on their own.


Comments (74)

  1. Pat Kelley

    I felt odd reading your essay immediately after a “USA Today” article in which they interviewed “critics” (i.e. the Discovery Institute) for “balance.” A sense of deja-vu all over again. It was, however, nice to see USA Today lump the D.I. in with the creationists. The coverage was cursory; thankfully so was the response from critics.

    Art and science used to step quite nicely with one another in this endeavor. As they’re both getting the shaft, it might be an idea to foster a closer relationship once more.

    I hope you’ll put news on strategies the new Alliance for Science has to reach out to audiences, or help that others can offer in this direction. Do they have a website of their own yet?

    Thanks for the updates. And great closing!

  2. Well-spoken indeed.

    The situation could be greatly improved (IMO) if our nation’s educators possessed the expertise, resources, and breadth required to teach students how to think (or more specifically, how to think critically)… rather than so much emphasis being placed upon what students should think. The entire process – not limited to science, of course – benefits little from the simple regurgitation of random snippets committed to short-term memory.

  3. Dermot

    beautifully put

    the sense of wonder and awe is what I’ve been trying to instil in my own kids

  4. Whales

    Big paint brush on the educators, Phil. I think most of us do teach the joy of science. That is why I got into the science teaching arena 30 years ago, and still teach now.

    Also Wolverine, how to think is not addressed in mandated curriculums and testing. Most of us have the expertise etc., the problem is the experts like the clowns of “no child left behind”.

  5. PK

    Phil, what was the response to your talk? Did they like it, or was there controversy? There was some coverage on the BBC.

    I really like the comparison to the Holocaust museum (very sharp), but you can’t get away with that in most European countries (big taboo comparing people with Nazis). How about every time NASA sends a probe to Mars we need “the other side” to voice that the earth is really flat.

    Come to think of it: This is dangerous, because some news channel might start doing this for real (as a joke?), and before you know it, a large proportion of the population believes it and becomes sympathetic to the idea of “teaching the controversy”. You bet the fundamentalist Christians would jump right in!

  6. gopher65

    I too am interested in the response. Great ending to your speech by the way:)!

  7. AitchJay

    I have to agree with Whales; the only scientific education I have (other than that relating to dental technology) is from my high school teachers here in Australia. It was their enthusiasm (twinkle, if you like) that led me to enjoy reading this blog.
    I think Phil is aiming at the bigger picture though, and I hope you don’t take it personally. Do keep up the good work, you may never know how good a result you are actually getting.
    On the issue of ‘no child left behind’, we have a similar issue here, but it was described best by my mother-in-law (herself a retired science educator): there is no way to have a system in junior schools where everybody passes, and the next level of education still chooses the best. It only moves the notion of ‘failure’ to someone else, it does not improve their standard.
    I think I have her idea right there, may have jumbled it a little..

  8. Tom Epps

    Phil, I agree with you 95%. On taking a stand against the ridiculous and absurd, I’m on board, but, like several respondents, I had magnificent teachers (in Louisiana, oft-
    rated one of the worst of states for education) who helped me to gain that sense of wonder.

    Perhaps the reason why so many of us are responding this way is BECAUSE we had teachers who fostered such wonder and awe in the natural world. I’d be interested in knowing how many readers did and did not have such inspiration.

    Tom Epps
    Mid -Atlantic

  9. Here at my school our science teachers are on both ends of the spectrum. Some of the teaches just do teach “memorize this” kind of science. (I’ve been fortunate to not get any of these kinds of teachers in high-school, but throughout grade school I had these teachers.) My favorite teaches have been those who teach science because they love it. It really shows in a teacher, weather they love the subject or not. My chemistry teacher, this year, really loves his subject and it shows. That is compared to one of the other chemistry teachers who, obviously, doesn’t. As you said, the teaches not only has to teach the subject, but also the love of it.

  10. Kaptain K

    Incompetent science teachers are not new. Forty years ago, I had a science teacher who defined “halogen” as “any element that occurs as a diatomic gas at standard temperature and pressure”! In other words, by her definition hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are halogens, but bromine (liquid), iodine and astatine (solid) are not!

    Good job Phil. keep it up!

  11. Great stuff, Phil!
    As an amateur astronomer, I understand that sense of wonder we need to pass to our children. It can come from something as small as looking at Saturn with your own eyes.
    And it’s an appreciation for the awesomeness of the universe that I hope to pass to my daughter.
    Maybe one day science will replace faith and “belief” as the cornerstones of religions, and we can make knowledge and seeking discovery as the foundation for our “spiritual” evolution.

  12. RAD

    My 7th grader took advanced scienceand now in eighth grade has to go to sweethog science because they don’t have any other option. There are certainly more problems but one at a time.

  13. KingNor

    i think, the most important starting point would be to contact the media at large and get them to understand that idea of “balance” doesn’t work with science.

    things liike the anchors saying “heh. i don’t even know what science is, man math sucks!” should stop.

    Its sad how much the media can affect peoples opinions even when the info and presentation is so bad.

    People like phil could probably make a huge impact if they contact the News Papers and TV News and get them to understand. Normal non-scientist types like me should contact them too though, to show that the regular people of the world are tired of this nonsence.

    Seriously all we need is a FEW front page articles about “Science outraged by Misleading Information” and the mass public will want to not be duped. Its sad but thats how it is.

  14. Putting the burden on the science teachers in unfair. The problem goes beyond what kids are being taught in school. The messages people receive from advertising and media outlets are definitely to blame.

    Consider, if you will, the Kevin Trudeau book. This book is a best seller, which has nothing to do with how our kids are being educated. For starters, he has an infomercial that seems to be on 24/7 on some channel or another. Why? Becuase the media doesn’t do any self-screening as to what they put on the air. All they care about it getting paid for the air time.

    And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

    The sorry fact of the matter is that people with non-science viewpoints are PAYING a lot of money to get their message out. Herbal supplement companies have adviertising budgets, that scientists do not. The IDiots have weekly programs like the 700 club to get their message out. And then there’s the news media covering their nonsense, giving it equal or greater footing, thus validated and encouraging it.

    Yes, science had the Discovery channel and Nova, but do those REALLY hold up against non-science? I claim there is emperical evidence that the answer is no. The Discovery channel does not get the viewership to have enough impact. The poling numbers about belief in IDiocy further support my claim. The word is not getting out.

    Phil has hit the nail on the head. We need to send people out to advertise for science and get the message out.

  15. Jonathan Wald

    Interesting talk, Phil. I enjoy your blog. I will agree that most science teachers are dedicated and I would like to think love and know their subjects. Unfortunately, not every child has the blessing of finding one. A few years ago, my daughter had a young woman teaching her Earth Science class who was obviously in over her head. At first I was thrilled to see how much time she wanted to spend on the astronomy unit. It did not take long to realize that this person did not know what they were talking about much of the time. I finally popped my cork when she told the class that planetary nebulae were nebulae that formed around planets. I offered to come in and assist, but as a parent with a full time job, that can be hard to do. We really need to make sure our teachers are qualified to teach the subjects entrusted to them.

  16. Cindy

    I’m a science teacher who works at a private high school so I don’t have to put up with state mandated curriculums. However it’s hard at times to get the kids to think critically and on their own (particularly after they got into college early). Also, class dynamics can make a big difference. I have two classes where the kids are interested in exploring stuff and one that is full of kids who just want the information spoon-fed so they can reguritate.

    I am glad to see that one of their favorite shows is “Mythbusters”. We need something like that for the pseudo-science crap out there. Hmm, maybe a “Mythbusters” meets “Cosmos”??

  17. Christine

    Cindy suggests a Mythbusters-like show addressing pseudo-science. I’ve seen one, and Phil has mentioned it in his blog. I’d better not put the exact name here, but it’s filmed by Penn & Teller. Unfortunately, it airs on HBO so doesn’t get as wide a viewing as it otherwise might. (I’ll bet I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to pay extra for premium channels that I would almost never watch!) But they have two seasons’ worth of episodes out on DVD. Maybe it would combat student ignorance to donate copies to libraries. Again, though, the name of the show would probably prohibit that!

  18. Cindy, from your lips to a producer’s ears… but keep your own ears open. I may have some news on something like that soon enough… :-)

  19. Psychon

    That’s it; I’m raising your pedestal up a notch. Indeed, it was always the teacher’s with that twinkle in the eye you spoke of that inspired me beyond the pedestrian. I feel the need to celebrate this blog entry with a daffy song & dance interlude:

  20. Also, Whales, I never said all science teachers are bad. I never even said any were bad, and I most certainly was not using a “big paint brush”. I was making a positive statement about what should be taught, and how.

  21. writerdd

    Phil, please don’t feel bad about making long posts, especially about such important topics.

    To those who don’t think the school issue is huge, huh? Yes, the media has serious problems with the way they present science issues. Yes, we need more scientists today who can speak to the pubic without jargon. But if the kids aren’t started off in the right direction, everything we do today for adults will just die along with us.

  22. BA all we need now is a super hero uniform for you. You didn’t like capes, right?

  23. Leon

    Christine Says:

    Cindy suggests a Mythbusters-like show addressing pseudo-science. I’ve seen one, and Phil has mentioned it in his blog. I’d better not put the exact name here, but it’s filmed by Penn & Teller.

    I like Penn & Teller’s show, but I do wish often that Penn would tone down the gratuitous swearing. He uses obscenities to good effect, but he also often seems to use them for the sake of using them. A little less name-calling wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

    But that said, it’s a good show that exposes a lot of, well, let’s just say the show’s name says it all.

  24. Michelle Rochon

    That was brilliant, Phil. Good idea to tackle this issue.

  25. 2 points here

    1) I do not know the situation in the US, but in the UK we have school league tables and a national carriculum. How a school does in these league tables will influence how many students they get and how much funding. Therefore you want the students to get a very high number of good grades in the exams. In order to get this, you do not teach the subject, you teach how to pass the exam. You do not divert from the national carriculum, you do not have time. Installing wonder in a topic? Sorry that is not in the national carriculum.

    2) Students are to be encouraged to to do critical thinking, except you must not be critical of evolution. Sounds like a double standard to me? If evolution is so “solid” as others maintain that it is, then it should be able to stand up to being questioned.

  26. Cindy

    BA writes:

    Cindy, from your lips to a producer’s ears… but keep your own ears open. I may have some news on something like that soon enough…

    Ok, Phil, I’m hoping you’ll be wearing a fedora instead of a beret. 😉

    When are the auditions for your co-bashers?

  27. I work with Rocket scientists (literally – private industry, not NASA), and yea, it was total BS what happened there – glad the guy got canned.

    Remember what Feynman wrote about the Challenger – “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

    Ditto what other people asked Phil in terms of what was the audience feedback?

  28. Roger Tang

    Students are to be encouraged to to do critical thinking, except you must not be critical of evolution. Sounds like a double standard to me?

    Well, it might if you don’t know the material.

    However, the mechanisms are challeneged all the time in cutting edge research. It’s just that it seems counterproductive to me to insist on being critical of evolution when you can see it in the lab, up to and including speciation.

  29. Seems to me that a lot of the trouble centres on the word “theory”. I am not a scientist (although I do follow as much as I can, including Phil’s blog), but I am something of a linguist; and I can see how this word has radically different meanings to both scientist and non-scientist. To the average Joe in the street, saying “so-and-so is a theory” comes across as rather weak; hence the ID crowd getting so much support when they dismiss anything scientific as “just a theory”.

    So it appears to me that a new word is needed; something that reflects the stronger and more rigorous meaning that scientists imply. Capitalising the word (“Theory”) is insufficient – most people will not even notice. We need a word that has closer connotations to the word “fact”. (How about “Thact”? Hmmm… Still working on that one! Or how about “article”, “statement”, “account”, “model”, “concept”… use a thesaurus to find some other word that equates to “fact” but sounds stronger than “theory”. )

    As for the current (apparently global) attack on Science – by all means get mad. But make it a controlled anger – simply raging against religionists only fuels their fire. The best way forward as I see it, is to use your science to fight them. Logic, psychology, semantics, linguistics, scientific demonstrations (not the placard-waving type!) etc. Use the media as they do. Use their own inconsistencies against them. You have all this Science – so use it! Use Science to defend itself. Because if you can’t, then who can? (I nearly said “God help us”, but he won’t either, as he doesn’t seem to be answering his calls lately…)

  30. Phobos

    Sticks: Perhaps I’m wrong, but somehow I doubt the UK rules state something to the effect of “you can ask questions about anything except evolution”. Anyway, “critical thinking” is not the same thing as simply criticizing. As Roger said, the theory of evolution can stand up to questioning and students should be encouraged to explore the aspects of the theory. However, the problem in the US at least, is that anti-evolutionists are trying to inject non-scientific information, or faulty information, into science classrooms. If there is a legitimate argument to be made, then it needs to be vetted through the scientific process (research, peer review, etc.) and not bypassing it to be injected into public schools for essentially religious or political reasons. Given the amount of info out there, schools should be teaching the best mainstream theories and not every fringe idea. Students need to understand what the foundational theories actually say before being able to “critically analyze” them.

  31. Hawk

    While I am all for getting excited about science, or any other subject, I am not certain how much school can do for you. I have had English, Math, and Chemistry ruined by bad school teachers. I survived and became a scientist. I actually recall 1 good natural science class, we learned bird calls all semester. That one was awesome.

    I think it is more important that kids be required to read than learn to think critically about fiction. I think it is more important that kids know history than write papers about what historical figures did wrong. I think it is incredibly important that kids know the basics of algebra, acceleration, gravity, force, electricity, and cell biology before they are unleashed upon the adult world.

    If “Teaching to the test” gets them that knowledge, good. I will get them the rest when they are in college. If they never go to college, at least their blog inputs won’t be so utterly ignorant.

  32. Irishman

    “Teaching to the test” doesn’t get them that knowledge. It doesn’t teach understanding, it teaches rote memorization. And there have been scandals here in Texas (where Bush first tried out his “teach to the test” method) where schools have been caught cheating. The schools are rated by the performance of their students, so they either give out the answers, or they run off the low performing students prior to the testing to make their numbers higher.

  33. Richard Board

    Sorry, Phil. I agree with Whales. You did not specifically state that the big problem in the misunderstanding of science in America is the fault of our public educational system in general and science teachers specifically; but the implication was clear and can be evidenced by the many responses from those of us who have dedicated our lives to the young people of this nation.

    If you’ve never taught in a public school (or a private school, for that matter – Cindy’s comments about her students would be echoed by any public school teacher I’ve ever met), you just can’t imagine the difficulties teachers face today. The continuous onslaught of misinformation that children receive through all sorts of media is difficult at best to counteract in the classroom. Check out the work of Harvard researchers in “A Private Universe” and “A Mind of Their Own” if you want to see more about this.

    Quit assuming that just because you went to elementary and secondary school that you are an expert on what is going on in today’s classrooms. The view is definitely different from the other side of the desk.

    We need to work together to combat ignorance of all kinds in every station and stop trying to blame others for our problems.

  34. Psychon

    I hope I don’t come across as overly cynical, but I’m surprised more people don’t discuss why K-12 education is still structured based on a by-gone agricultural era. Education must be ingrained into our society as a life long process that is encouraged at all levels.

    I recall the K-12 environment to be mainly an atmosphere of apathy and mediocrity punctuated by a few exceptional teachers that didn’t seem beaten down by the institution and really cared about “you” and the material they were teaching. Somehow I’m not surprised kids are being medicated to cope.

    Why do we put up with such a fossilized infrastructure? Someone said to me recently that we live in a country (or world) of “C” students. Are we letting the “C” students hold back progress?

  35. Tara Mobley

    Phil, that was a wonderful post, and like a lot of people here, I don’t mind it being long.

    For that matter, whenever you next give a talk that’s close to home, I will try to make it.

  36. Shawn S.

    The public school teacher comments remind me of an article I read by Richard Dawkins in “A Devil’s Chaplain”. It was a eulogy to a headmaster and was pretty glowing. Dawkins complained that the current system is flawed because it focuses so much on standardized tests (“A Levels” to get into universities) that students won’t want to give much thought to a subject that isn’t covered heavily in the exams. Evolution was one of those.

    While educators have their work cut out for them, the school administration are more to blame for the restrictions put on the curriculum. One brief glance over in the direction of Dover, PA makes my point nicely.

    Dr. Plait addressed the three big groups as being those three which can best help the cause of science (and thus our future as a species), and I would agree with him there.

    He never said it’d be easy, but I think we’re up to the task. We had better be or our race might not survive (Yeah, I know it sounds melodramatic… sue me).

    Phil and others in the community are inspirational… and not in the Wal-Mart cheap book by a preacher kind of inspirational!

  37. george

    Did you have any “overlap surfing” (where the mainstream of science flows into the body of religion) in the 3/4 unspoken portion of your presentation? This is the problematic region, IMO.

    I would be curious if the survey on acceptance of evolution is available on the web. Most religions favor evolution, at least to a degree. 40% rejection seems very unlikely. However, it would depend, perhaps, on the context of the question. In one sense, what doesn’t involve evolution? Even my astronomy has evolved, believe it or not, thanks to a certain forum around here.

  38. Nigel Depledge

    Sticks said:
    “Students are to be encouraged to to do critical thinking, except you must not be critical of evolution. Sounds like a double standard to me? If evolution is so “solid” as others maintain that it is, then it should be able to stand up to being questioned”

    Sticks, either you are being deliberately contentious or you have no idea what you are talking about. Critical thinking means thinking critically about everything, from advertisements to news stories to TV documentaries to scientific articles and so on. The modern theory of evolution arose as a consequence of people thinking critically about the theory and its competitors. Just because you don’t like a scientific theory doesn’t mean it hasn’t been subjected to critical thinking.

    And, by the way, I don’t believe all schools in the UK stick so rigidly to the national curriculum that there is no room for imaginitive teaching. I’ll have to ask a teacher I know and see what he thinks.

  39. Nigel Depledge

    On the subject of science education and science communication, how many of you have heard of a fellow called Adam Hart-Davis? He has had two TV series (by which I mean two separate sets of series, as each one ran for more than a single series) with the BBC presenting fascinating aspects of the history of science and the technologies that have resulted. In particular, he is very enthusiastic, and often presents very simple yet edifying demonstrations of the principles he is discussing. These series were called Local Heroes (very UK-focussed) and What Have the Romans Done For Us? (with sequals including the Victorians, the Ancients and so on).

    He also has a book published, called “Why Does a Ball Bounce?”, that I got as a birthday pressent yesterday. I look forward to reading it very soon.

  40. P. Edward Murray


    That sounds good to did a good job.

  41. Jim in STL

    I attempted to send this comment this morning but was informed that I was a spam merchant….Harrumph.

    With all due respect to the other very fine panelists and the moderator who all did a great job and were well received, the public response to Phil’s talk was the most enthusiastic and sustained applause of the session.

    The underlying current of resentment and passion regarding the Bush administration’s attempts to suppress scientific findings/discussion and the attack on science by fundamentalist creationists/IDists throughout the sessions that I attended was impressive. And, there is a growing vocal and concerted effort by AAAS and supporting organizations to galvanize this into action. Hel….er, heck, even the Vatican had representation at the meeting. Very impressive. Very encouraging.

  42. Scott Mooney

    Great job, great talk, Phil.

    In reference to the idea of a “Mythbusters”-like show or program to take on pseudoscience…can I help somehow? I’ve done voiceovers and been trained for radio broadcasting and…



    Great talk, Phil. You pointed out that just taking on pseudoscience isn’t enough. We have to teach science WELL to combat it properly.

  43. A Simple Guy

    Phil, that wasn’t long at all! Please keep up the good work!

    I was watching CNN while waiting in line at the bank this afternoon and caught a scientist from Harvard (don’t recall her name) speaking about science and Bush’s pathetic role. If there were more scientists speaking out, maybe the tide will turn for the better.

  44. For those of you wondering what the response of the attendees was: I was there. I now understand why you were fretting about re-writing it, Phil.

    The earlier talks outlined the recent attacks on evolution (Eugenie Scott), the views of Americans on science and how they compare with the rest of the world — no other industrialized country has a political position on evolution — (Jon Miller), the importance of sound science in decision making and informing the public (Shirley Malcom), the importance of increasing the public understanding of science (Roger Bybee), the faillings of US undergraduate science education, especially as it applies to science teachers, (Gerry Wheeler) and the importance of good science to the US economy (Emlyn Koster). That’s my summary of this long series of talks (it ran from 2:00 to 5:00, standing-room only), but each speaker certainly covered more than just what I mentioned above. I took 10 pages of notes from this seminar!

    These heavy-hitters together were a very hard act to follow. Phil’s talk was the perfect capstone (fitting, being in St. Louis) to a wonderful series. After two-and-a-half hours of excellent speakers, your firebreathing was a superb closing. No powerpoint, just straight-shooting from the hip. I particularly appreciated your suggestion “…let them complain about activist scientists!” Your talk received an amazing reaction from the crowd, as well. As Jim in STL notes, the reaction to Phil’s talk was the most enthusiastic of them all (and not just because it was the last one!). Let us just hope it turns into action.

    Some of the suggestions from this symposium: scientists should buy and operate a TV station. Scientists of faith should speak out against religious ideologues who attack science in the name of religion. We need to learn the political game. We should assist schools in developing vertically integrated courses that follow the connecting themes of science (evolution, genetics, atomic theory, the big bang, etc.) from grade school through high-school in a unified manner. “Early science education is essential to adult literacy.” (Malcom) We need more museum programs to increase informal education opportunities for adults.

    I attended about 20 different talks this weekend, but this session will stick in my mind for a long time. Good on you, Phil!

  45. beskeptigal

    I’ll have to read all these later so forgive me if this has been said (I’ve certainly said versions of the following in the forums):

    We need to use science to discover the best ways to get through to people. We need more science of not just why people believe weird things, but research into the best means of changing those weird beliefs.

    We impart knowledge then surveys show a limited number of people now have that knowledge. Our response is to impart that knowledge again and again then still wonder why so many people don’t get it.

    Assess the effectiveness of different means of educating people. The Christian think tanks and the marketers of useless products know all to well how to get people to believe weird things. They are not above using every technique even if it might be not quite within their religious ideals. Why aren’t we doing that? We can keep to our science ideals without being afraid to step over the line just a little if the results are more people understanding the scientific process.

    So ID isn’t science? Lets get folks to understand evolution is the correct theory and worry later about explaining why ID isn’t science. The creationists make the discussion about fairness and discussing all possibilities. We need to shift the discussion to the overwhelming evidence for evolution, not the argument of restricting teachers.

    We should be using advanced techniques to communicate. Sciences are often overlapping these days. Astro-biology-planetary science, medicine and computer informatics and so on. Education and persuasion science could be more integrated into any field of science education.

    Assess, hypothesize, test, implement, reassess. Just because I teach doesn’t mean you learn.

  46. schwa sticker

    “Indeed, it was always the teacher’s […] that inspired me beyond the pedestrian.”

    Apparrantly it wasn’t the English teachers!

  47. Psychon

    “Apparrantly [Apparently] it wasn’t the English teachers!”

    You must have been in my class. Your critiquing style is very illuminating. Your students must be proud.

  48. Paul Lippincott

    Thank you for speaking up/out. The suffocation of science is getting lost in the media clutter surrounding Iraq, terrorism and and the administration’s personal love of shooting things. Unless something is done, the effects will be devastating.

    It’s probably been brought to your attention before, but do you have any control over the ads posted on your blog or BA site? It’s a pretty grim comment on the invasiveness of anti-science when your entries are preceeded by advertisements calling Evolution “junk science.”

  49. beskeptigal

    I believe the BA has no control over the ads, but I share the mixed emotions. My favored Air America radio station, while they have declined Walmart ads, have been airing an increasing number of ads for sham products. Today it was some vitamin combo, “patented” of course, that claims to make your child (IIRC, they cited ages 12-25) grow taller.

    I’m not sure how to impact this issue. On the one hand, the money has to come from somewhere and it gets the message out to more people. OTOH, the ads are there because they garner some success getting their message out as well.

  50. beskeptigal

    Richard Board Says:
    February 21st, 2006 at 2:53 pm “Sorry, Phil. I agree with Whales. You did not specifically state that the big problem in the misunderstanding of science in America is the fault of our public educational system in general and science teachers specifically; but the implication was clear and can be evidenced by the many responses from those of us who have dedicated our lives to the young people of this nation….”


    Cindy Says:
    February 21st, 2006 at 10:08 am “I’m a science teacher who works at a private high school so I don’t have to put up with state mandated curriculums. However it’s hard at times to get the kids to think critically and on their own (particularly after they got into college early). Also, class dynamics can make a big difference. I have two classes where the kids are interested in exploring stuff and one that is full of kids who just want the information spoon-fed so they can reguritate…”


    Paul Says:
    February 21st, 2006 at 9:44 am “Putting the burden on the science teachers in unfair. The problem goes beyond what kids are being taught in school. The messages people receive from advertising and media outlets are definitely to blame.”

    To these comments, I say:
    If teachers of young children throw up their hands and say, “It’s not my fault,” or take any suggestion of the need for improvement as laying blame on them or their profession, how will we ever make progress? We all can improve everything we do. The knowledge base in science improves every day, maybe every minute. If someone identifies a problem in my field, I welcome it. I don’t resent it. There is a problem in the education system when Harvard graduates are interviewed and don’t understand basic concepts like how seasons occur (belief was distance to Sun, not angle of light).

    I saw an excellent program here in one of our local schools. Kids were taught all about electrical circuits and were tested on the material. Then they were handed a battery, one wire and a light bulb and asked to lite the bulb. Test scores did not correlate with the ability to light the bulb. The two learning experiences were separate events. Learning to answer questions on a test does not always correlate with real learning of a concept. Great, research can uncover these things and improve teaching methods. I believe this is happening at the university level in the science of education. We need to put some focus there and on getting the results of the research back to the classrooms.

    Elwood Herring Says:
    February 21st, 2006 at 12:53 pm “Seems to me that a lot of the trouble centres on the word “theory”. I am not a scientist (although I do follow as much as I can, including Phil’s blog), but I am something of a linguist; and I can see how this word has radically different meanings to both scientist and non-scientist. To the average Joe in the street, saying “so-and-so is a theory” comes across as rather weak; hence the ID crowd getting so much support when they dismiss anything scientific as “just a theory”…

    To this comment, I say:
    Attempts to address the meaning of theory haven’t faired to well. I doubt a new word will be coming any time soon. We can ourselves, however, increase our use of the term hypothesis. Instead of explaining why intelligent design is not scientific or why evolution is THE theory not a theory, we can use terms like supported by OVERWHELMING evidence. We can discuss ID in terms of it’s underlying hypothesis, that of irreducible complexity, and then go on to state IC has pretty much been ruled out by genetic research. You have the right idea, and there may be a number of approaches to address the problem.

    Sticks Says:
    February 21st, 2006 at 11:55 am “…2) Students are to be encouraged to to do critical thinking, except you must not be critical of evolution. Sounds like a double standard to me? If evolution is so “solid” as others maintain that it is, then it should be able to stand up to being questioned.”

    To this comment, I say:
    Everyone has addressed the important points re this statement. I would only add, you, Sticks, have bought into the misleading claims made by the other side. Don’t take it personal, millions have done the same. But I thought your post makes a good example of the problem.

    KingNor Says:
    February 21st, 2006 at 9:17 am “…i think, the most important starting point would be to contact the media at large and get them to understand that idea of “balance” doesn’t work with science…”

    To this comment, I say:
    I get letters to the editors printed on occasion, out of the many I send. But I’ve yet to see a change in reporting. I’ll keep sending them anyway. It help s to be brief and make a point not just of the errors in balance, but also of the potential harm done.

    Re Penn and Teller and their choice of words, their show is aimed at a particular market. Keep it, but add shows for additional markets. It isn’t a sea of clones out there.

  51. Nigel Depledge

    Beskeptical, some very thoughtful ideas there.

    I also write letters whenever I see an article in the press on a scientific topic that tries too hard to be “balanced”. Most recently the January edition of the BBC’s Focus magazine (I bought it for the article on the Bugatti Veyron, but it also had one on ID).

  52. Cass

    Just got a message from my SCIber mentee (science program for girls in Alberta, Canada) She said she was learning evolution in biology and some people had problems believing that people evolved from large rats (!?!? I’m pretty sure no teacher said that) and are closely related to gorillas then asked what I thought to the theory of evolution. Good thing I’ve been keeping up to date with this blog:) Explained how science works – theories have overwhelming evidence to back them up. Also got the great “Shakespeare isn’t taught as history” arguement from here.

    This discussion has certainly raised my awareness. Keep it up Phil.

  53. Joe Maher

    I like the last graf and wholeheartedly agree. But the reality is that many (if not most) science teachers on the Jr/Sr High level are pushed to give more thought to end-of-grade testing than they are to convey the “wonder” of science. It’s my own feeling that EOG testing is the death-knell of teaching (not just of teaching science, but of teaching anything). It focuses students more on the mechanical than on the creative. And we are all the less because of it. I’ll get off my soap-box now.

  54. beskeptigal

    Thank you for the compliment, Nigel.

  55. Penn and Teller (well, Penn, anyway) swear constantly in the show for one reason – they don’t get sued that way!

    It was explained to me in this way: They could be sued for calling an astrologer a liar, but not for calling astrology bull****. So, they use euphemisms. The choice of euphemisms was surely influenced by the target market though.

    I agree with other posters stating that critical thinking skills are sorely lacking. That’s how we have creationists, IDiocy, homeopathy, and anything in Trudeau’s “book”.

  56. TR

    I am a HS science department head, and, as it happens, I’m going to be meeting with my division head tomorrow to recommend (on behalf of my colleagues and myself) that our school’s enrolment contract include a stipulation that we teach evolution.
    We are a private school, so this is a little easier for us to do by fiat, but I encourage all you parents out there to demand the same of your childrens’ schools. I agree with Phil; science is under attack, and it’s time to launch a counteroffensive.
    To paraphrase Edmund Burke: all that is necessary for the triumph of ignorance is that informed people do nothing.

  57. Charles Simkins


    I think the one thing all scientists need to remember is to speak of science, not as a noun, but as a verb. That is, science is a process not a fixed object. It is like engineering, of which I am a member, as it is the process of utilizing facts determined by scientific efforts, in the research and development of programs and projects. Engineers build things and when the things are done, the engineering is done as well. Scientists develop methods of determining the characteristics of the universe both large and small and develop the laws by which the universe is constructed; the method they use is called science.


  58. Geologist

    One of the greatest impediments to understanding science, for the public and for students, is the personal belief that “I can’t understand this stuff” which is, of course, a self-fulfilling belief. And this comes into play very early on in the educational system as well as in the family role modeling and through others in life.

    If you pay attention to infants and very young children, it’s apparent that they are insatiably curious about everything. They want to experience how things taste, how they feel, how they sound, what they do, how they work, and what’s inside them. As long as their curiosity and interests are fed and supported, they will continue to learn and they will continue to be excited and thrilled and inspired. But all too soon something happens to far too many of these children that begins to turn them off from learning. Their excitement wanes, they become dull and uninspired, and their curiosity and interests fade.

    What is it that happens to them? One thing is that the adults in charge begin force feeding them rather than continuing to feed their natural curiosity and interests. Why? One reason is that many, perhaps most, of the adults in charge have been through the same transition themselves and are rather dull, uninspired and disinterested themselves. (And by “adults in charge” I mean parents, family, friends, teachers – any adult who is a significant influence in a child’s life.) So, this problem is somewhat self perpetuating.

    Another reason has to do with the practical efficiencies of managing large groups of children – in day care, nursery school, head start, K-12, and even college. Money, of course, is always an issue that affects the quality of institutions of learning, the supply and quality of learning materials (books, music, lab equipment, musical instruments, art supplies, etc.), the adequacy of compensation for teachers, etc. Time is an issue, too. In a 50 minute lab period, for example, getting out the necessary equipment, figuring out what to do with it, setting it up, taking it down, cleaning up, and putting stuff away leaves very little time for anything like real science to happen. And the whole while, what’s supposed to be happening is what someone else decided should happen rather than what a student might be naturally interested in.

    Then it’s off to math class to learn the language of science (as well as for other aspects of life) but that stuff is really dull and difficult. And it becomes more and more so as one advances, working endless problems that seems to have little or no relationship to anything in one’s life, using rules and formulas and constants that one simply needs to memorize because someone said to. Where is the thrill, excitement and inspiration in that? Pretty soon one gets to a point where it seems “I really can’t understand this stuff anymore.” Which immediately means one really can’t because one believes one can’t. Of course if one can’t understand math, understanding science is pretty tough, which again leads to “I really can’t understand this stuff anymore.”

    There are really very few who’s natural interest, enthusiasm and inspiration can survive this kind of treatment. But what’s the answer? Or, more accurately, what are the answers? Because there’s a lot of stuff to “fix” in this complex mess that works so well at dulling and discouraging so many incredible hearts and minds who could otherwise at least appreciate and enjoy science even if they don’t devote their lives to it as a vocation. Unless people believe they can understand math and science, they can’t. How do we help people believe they can?

    (I guess this may be a little long, but I’m not sorry.)

  59. Hawkeye

    One thing, though, about launching a counteroffensive: I think it’s a great idea, but we’ve got a couple of problems. We can’t use the same techniques the IDers or the Trudeaus or the non-critical thinking public does, because a great deal of the appeal of their notions is that they are utterly accessible. They depend a great deal on “going with what you feel” or “the truth coming from within” or “if you feel it’s true it must be right”. A lot of the world is also very bound up in the relativistic mindset that “everyone’s ideas are equal and right for them.” (Hence the factitious “balance” in news reports.)

    While I agree with Phil about the importance of stressing the wonder of science, there’s no getting around two things. 1. Science is hard. It’s all very well to be awed by a Planetarium exhibition or the Natural History Museum, but if you really want to understand astronomy or biology or physics, you have to study. Therefore, many people see it as “elitist”. I know, I know, it’s really the most basic fallacy, but there is a serious problem these days with people rejecting anything they don’t understand immediately. 2. Science isn’t a democracy, and we don’t decide things by popular vote, and we don’t care about giving equal time to everybody–we actually decide what we think is the correct answer. Therefore, it’s “closed-minded” and “judgmental”.

    Scary case in point: I go to MEDICAL SCHOOL. There are an incredible number of my classmates who *still* think ID should be taught in high school, not because they disbelieve evolution (thank goodness), but because they think “they should present both sides”. Yep. And these are the people who may be responsible for your health in a few years. Want your doctor to give equal time to both sides when treating your necrotizing fasciitis? Antibiotics vs. homeopathy? I even had a classmate–an MD/PhD candidate, no less–argue that “there MUST be something to acupuncture because it’s been around for 3000 years.”

    Sorry…too long a response to what was not at all too long a post. But it just seems to me that the problem lies very deep. We’ve got some very basic PR work to do. Right now it seems like we not only don’t want to take the trouble to be critical thinkers, but the non-crits have managed to make ignorance a virtue. And they get rewarded for it! And what does science have to counter it? Well, there’s always knowledge and accomplishment and insight and advancement of thought. But we can’t say it’s easy.

    They can.

  60. Superheroes.

    In Japan for instance, super heroes are martial artists who have trained and worked in a “secret fighting style” and are more skilled than anyone else.

    In the USA, Canada, et cetera superheroes generally get their powers accidentally, from radiation or an accident of birth.

    I have always thought that was an interesting glimpse into how we view our heroes: Here in the west, exceptional people are “just lucky” compared to the rest of us.

    Perhaps this is another way of looking at the general lack of scholastic achievement in our countries – we have all internalised this “success is by accident” concept and are unwilling to work hard!

    Or maybe I’m talking out my donkey.

  61. Schuyler DuQuesne

    Thanks, Phil, for having the courage of your convictions. We should all take every opportunity to stop mumbling among ourselves and speak out loud in complete sentences.

    Science will get you through times of no faith better than faith will get you through times of no science – science “works” whether you believe in it or not.

    “It’s not my job to prove the Earth is round; it’s my job to round up all those who believe it’s flat – and shove them over the edge.”

    Schuyler DuQuesne

  62. beskeptigal

    Is that your quote, Schuyler? Gave me a good laugh, that. 😀

    Hawkeye Says: “One thing, though, about launching a counteroffensive: I think it’s a great idea, but we’ve got a couple of problems….”

    We have lots of problems. And there’s a lot of speculation about the problems, what might be done, what can’t be done, and so on in these replies.

    We’re scientists folks. Scientists develop hypotheses, test them, and eventually solve problems. Why shouldn’t we be using the same scientific process in the science of communicating and teaching?

    Marketers are better at the science of communication than scientists are. They spend billions on research. Universities are doing research in education techniques. I’m not in that field so I don’t know the progress they’re making. I do know their advances aren’t spilling over into other fields of science fast enough. We need to start here and begin utilizing existing research, then add to the body of knowledge and utilize the new research.

    I’m not suggesting we use the misleading manipulating techniques in the same way as marketers. But we can use identification of those techniques to find counter measures. For example, ID pushers want the discussion to be about fair and open science. Why? Because they lose when the argument is about evidence. Don’t argue why ID isn’t science. Argue why evidence does not support irreducible complexity. Argue why new genetic research has filled in all those old gaps in evolution theory. In other words, recognize the IDers are switching to the straw man of open science very effectively. Our replies that science is open, ID is not science, ID needs to prove itself via evidence not courts, have not been effective.

    The hypothesis we need only teach the facts, teach the science, explain theory, has been tested. It failed. Time for a new hypothesis. ID pushers want to change the subject of the fight. Change the subject back. Test the hypothesis. Discuss new genetic research. Point out the IDers are 20 years behind the science. If that doesn’t work, try a new hypothesis.

    Instead of just listing problems, look at the problems as data analysis on which to develop and test solutions.

  63. Irishman

    Chris Louth, that is a cogent observation about the differences in superheroes and how that reflects the mindset of the cultures. Western (especially U.S.) culture is caught up with the mindset of “rugged individualism”, the whole concept of independence and self-support. It’s reflected in the icons of the U.S., such as the cowboy. It’s the idea that some regular person is put in extraordinary dire circumstances and must rise to the occasion. It’s played out in the superhero stories (modern mythology), where the superheroes are accidentally gifted and struggle with what that means. See the Spiderman movies, where the plot centers on Peter Parker accepting the role in which he’s cast because of his abilities. The first movie is establishing himself, and deciding to be a force for good because of his uncle’s death. Then there’s the second movie, where he is reevaluating the price he personally pays to be a hero.

    This theme is embedded in many stories throughout our culture. It’s the Vigilante hero story. We love the downtrodden man standing up to the rich robber baron. We love the oppressed becoming clandestine revolutionaries. We love the folks who can’t go to the police so they stand up to the gangsters themselves. Red Dawn (high school students fight off a Soviet invasion of America), Four Brothers (4 foster brothers kill the gangsters that murdered their mother), any Clint Eastwood western or Dirty Harry movie, Die Hards (lone off-duty cop against evil terrorists) – Harry Potter, Firewall, Zorro, Underworld, The Chronicles of Narnia, Running Scared – all play on this mythos and use it in the story.

    Some of these stories have as part of it that the character has some particular skill or training that they rely upon, but most have some circumstance or condition “above and beyond the call of duty”, some special condition that the character finds they must deal with because they are the only one who can, and it may be too much for them.

    That’s one of the reasons I like Star Trek. Whatever problems it has, what I admire is that often the problems they face must be solved with knowledge, skill, and dedication. Sure, it takes bravery and sometimes independence of will, but there’s frequently a necessary level of science and technology that must be implemented, and the effort involved to make that happen. They can’t always rely on charm and good looks – sometimes it takes thought. That’s also what appealed about McGuyver. Yeah, some of the stories were pretty corny, but they focused on information and thinking to solve problems, not brute force.

    But that shows how much of an underlying problem there is to address to get people to choose difficult science over easy faith and whim.

  64. Hawkeye

    beskeptigal says: “Don’t argue why ID isn’t science. Argue why evidence does not support irreducible complexity. Argue why new genetic research has filled in all those old gaps in evolution theory. In other words, recognize the IDers are switching to the straw man of open science very effectively. Our replies that science is open, ID is not science, ID needs to prove itself via evidence not courts, have not been effective.”

    Weill, I think you *have* to argue that ID isn’t science, for the very reasons I pointed out. You have to know something already in order to understand genetic research–again, It’s. Not. Easy. And if you start talking about the evidence, you open the door for them to overwhelm you with all their carefully chosen “But you can’t explain THIS!” arguments. You can’t fill enough gaps to satisfy these people, and meanwhile, you’re giving them legitimacy by even paying attention to their BS. “Irreducible complexity”, my metatarsals. *snort*

    I think cutting the legs out from under the straw man, as it were, is the only effective way there is to keep it back. It just worked nicely in Dover. *g* Mind you, it’ll be back.

    That’s kind of the problem. We keep winning in court. We can win in courts by proving ID is religion and not science–the Dover decision couldn’t have made that any clearer. But I don’t think we can win in the mind of the public until we get a lot more people to understand that science is *supposed* to be hard. We need to have people who are excited by that idea and who are willing to put in the work in order to be able to understand all those tests and hypotheses before we can teach them, you see what I mean? We can’t win on the specific arguments–I’ve tried explaining the evidence, and even med students will listen to whatever I say and still respond “But we should listen to both sides!”–unless the people you’re arguing with have the capability of understanding the evidence you’re presenting.

    We need to find a way to make science–heck, on a more basic level, to make *thinking* more attractive an option, that’s all I’m saying. And I don’t know where to start on that one. This strange notion that truth comes from within, and its variations, are a little too rampant. And how do we do that? We can’t tell them it’s easy, or quick, or that it’s always comfortable.

    We have to make the challenge of it.appealing first.

  65. beskeptigal

    Hawkeye, you and many others don’t buy my argument or at least that’s what I think you are saying. To you and the rest I say, test your hypothesis.

    “I think you *have* to argue that ID isn’t science, for the very reasons I pointed out.” (Hawkeye)

    Reasons are nice, ideals are nice, but *results* would be nicer in this case. Actually I am not so worried about evolution in the long run. There aren’t many flat Earthers around these days. I have no doubt when genetic research enters the common knowledge stream, ID will fade away. But the problem is much much bigger than ID and evolution.

    The problem is billions of dollars spent on worthless medical remedies, attraction to astrology and the occult as if they were real phenomenon instead of curiosities, the ease with which political leaders use propaganda techniques effectively, and though some don’t want to include religion, the attraction to nonsensical religious beliefs that result in wars and persecution of people.

    I’ll be happy to stick to the ‘ID isn’t science’ theme if you can show some study that provides evidence such an approach is effective in the ID vs evolution debates. I think experience offers enough data to say it isn’t an effective approach. And experience also provides substantial data that the straw man of “fairness” in science is working in the ID vs evolution debate. I don’t expect anyone to toss out teaching the fundamentals of what is science. Just put it aside in the ID vs evolution debates.

    Recognize when you are repeating yourself with no results. There’s a time to repeat yourself, in different words perhaps, or perhaps when you know your hypothesis is right and it has yet to be accepted. But also recognize when repeating yourself has not achieved its purpose and isn’t likely to anytime soon. If you lead that horse to water and it fails to drink, it might be a good idea to find out why. It may be that there is something in the way you haven’t seen.

  66. Nigel Depledge

    There are some very interesting comments here.

    Hawkeye, you said:
    “We have to make the challenge of it.appealing first.”

    What we need is a leader who can make the challenge appealing. Remember Kennedy’s speech when he said “… We choose to go to the Moon and to do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…”

    We choose to do it because it is hard.

    It seems to me that this message is the way to get people switched on to science.

    Having said that, I don’t know how best to disseminate it. Science has no leader. The US has a leader who doesn’t give two hoots for science (anyone remember the scientists who said the levees at Nawlins wouldn’t stand a cat 5 hurricane?). Schoolteachers often have to deal with apathetic students who do not receive the right encouragement outside of school.


  67. RAD

    Sure seems like alot of the worlds problems boil down to what is or is not happening in the home. this may never change.

  68. anon

    A huge part of the problem is that undergraduates get little more than a basic introduction to science.

    If high school teachers were required to have at least a master’s degree level education in biology, they might understand how important evolution is to modern biological science and wouldn’t be so easily swayed by Christian fundamentalist schoolboards.

  69. David

    It doesn’t matter what you teach the kids. Most people are idiots. You can teach them about science all you want, they will still be idiots. Culture is to blame.

  70. joe nahhas

    Kepler (demolish) Vs Einstein’s

    Ending Einstein’s space jail of time in 2009 that led to fraud Symbol E=mc²

    Areal velocity is constant: r² θ’ =h Kepler’s Law

    h = 2π a b/T; b=a√ (1-ε²); a = mean distance value; ε = eccentricity
    r² θ’= h = S² w’

    S = r exp (ỉ wt); h = [r² Exp (2iwt)] w’=r²θ’
    w’ = (θ’) exp [-2(i wt)]

    w’= (h/r²) [cosine 2(wt) – ỉ sine 2(wt)] = (h/r²) [1- 2sine² (wt) – ỉ sin 2(wt)]
    w’ = w'(x) + ỉ w'(y) ; w'(x) = (h/r²) [ 1- 2sine² (wt)]

    Δ w’= w'(x) – (h/r²) = – 2(h/r²) sine² (wt) = – 2(h/r²) (v/c) ² v/c=sine wt
    (h/ r²)(Perihelion/Periastron)= [2πa.a√ (1-ε²)]/Ta² (1-ε) ²= [2π√ (1-ε²)]/T (1-ε) ²
    Δ w’ = [w'(x) – h/r²] = -4π {[√ (1-ε²)]/T (1-ε) ²} (v/c) ² radian per second

    {x [180/π;degrees]x[100years=36526days;century]x[3600;seconds in degree]
    Δ w” = (-720x36526x3600/T) {[√ (1-ε²]/(1-ε)²} (v/c)² seconds of arc per century

    This Kepler’s Equation solves all the problems Einstein and all physicists could not solve
    DI Her Binary starts systems

    The circumference of an ellipse: 2πa (1 – ε²/4 + 3/16(ε²)²- –.) ≈ 2πa (1-ε²/4); R =a (1-ε²/4) v=√ [G m M / (m + M) a (1-ε²/4)] ≈ √ [GM/a (1-ε²/4)]; m<>Exp (ì w t) ———->> S=r Exp (ì wt) Nahhas’ Equation
    Orbit——–>> Orbit light sensing——>> Visual Orbit; Exp = Exponential
    Particle —->> light sensing of moving objects———— >> Wave
    Newton———>>light sensing———->> Quantum
    Quantum = Newton x Visual Effects
    Quantum – Newton = Relativistic = Optical Illusions
    E (Energy by definition) = mv²/2 = mc²/2; if v = c
    m = mass; v= speed; c= light speed; w= angular velocity; t= time
    S = r Exp (ì w t) = r [cos (wt) + ì sin (wt)] Visual effects
    P = visual velocity = change of visual location
    P = d S/d t = v Exp (ì w t) + ì w r Exp (ì w t)
    = (v + ì w r) Exp (ì w t) = v (1 + ì) Exp (ì w t) = visual speed; v = wr
    E (visual energy= what you see in lab) = m p²/2; replace v by p in E = mv²/2
    = m p²/2 = m v²/2 (1 + ì) ² Exp (2ì wt)
    = mv²/2 (2ì) [cosine (2wt) + ì sine (2wt)]
    =ì mv² [1 – 2 sine² (wt) + 2 ì sine (wt) cosine (wt)];v = speed; c = light speed
    wt = π/2
    E (visual) = ìmv² (1 – 2 + 0)
    E (visual) = -ì mc² ≡ mc² (absolute value;-ì = negative complex unit) If v = c
    w t = π/4
    E (visual) = imv² [1-1 +ỉ] =-mc²; v = c
    wt =-π/4+ỉln2/2; 2ỉ wt=-ỉπ/2 – ln2
    Exp (2i wt) = Exp [-ỉπ/2] Exp [ln(1/2)]=[-ỉ (1/2)]
    E (visual) = imv² (-ỉ/2) =1/2mc² v = c
    Conclusion: E = mc² is the visual Illusion of E = mc²/2 All rights reserved.
    PS: In case of E=mc² claims to be rest energy claims then
    E=1/2m (m v + m’ r) ² = (1/2m) (m’ r) ²; v = 0
    E = (1/2m) (mc) ²; m’ r =mc


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