IPCC REPORT ON GLOBAL WARMING

IPCC REPORT ON GLOBAL WARMING:

The IPCC is an intergovernmental panel on climate change a group of scientists convened by the united nations to make recommendations to world leaders. Ninety-one leading scientists from 40 countries who together examined more than 6,000 scientific studies. Specialists such as Katharine Mach, who studies new approaches to climate assessment at stanford university; Tor Arve Benjaminsen, a human geographer at the Norwegian university of life sciences; and Raman Sukumar, an ecologist at the indian institute of science.

TITLE OF REPORT: “Global warming of 1.5 °c. An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °c above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty”

Scientists who reviewed the 6,000 works referenced in the report, said the change caused by just half a degree came as a revelation. We can see there is a difference and it’s substantial.

At 1.5c the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50% lower than at 2c, it notes. Food scarcity would be less of a problem and hundreds of millions fewer people, particularly in poor countries, would be at risk of climate-related poverty.

At 2c extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere this summer, would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires.

But the greatest difference would be to nature. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2c compared with 1.5c. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached.

This quote summarizes:

“The IPCC maps out four pathways to achieve 1.5c, with different combinations of land use and technological change. Reforestation is essential to all of them as are shifts to electric transport systems and greater adoption of carbon capture technology.”

~ Jonathan Watts, global environment editor at “The Guardian”

#ipcc #climatechange #actnow #sciencegeek

Supernova 1604

Today in Astronomical History —> On this day in 1604 Supernova 1604 is sighted, the most recent supernova to be observed within the Milky Way.

Here’s the modern remnant of that supernova, which apparently was visible in 1604 for three weeks during the day, and was by far the brightest star in the sky back then:

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020

The Nobel Prize—in Chemistry—went to Jennifer Doudna of UC Berekeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin.

The prize went for the CRISPR/Cas9 system of gene editing and was a tremendous accomplishment in biology and chemistry. It promises a lot, including curing human genetic disease.

Remember, Nobel Prizes in science are designed to reward those who made discoveries potentially helping humanity, not those who just made general scientific advances.

In the 120 years of Nobel prizes in medicine, physics and chemistry, prizes were awarded 599 times to men and 23 times to women.

“For too long, many many discoveries made by women have been underplayed and they have simply not been recognized. The under representation of women in science has been too clear.”

~ American Chemistry Society President Luis Echegoyen, a chemistry professor at the University of Texas El Paso.

Btw this is the first time two women have shared a science Nobel Prize. Go women in STEM!

#NobelPrize #Chemistry #WomenInSTEM #JenniferDoudna #EmmanuelleCharpentier

Nobel Prize in Physics 2020: Black Holes

Three Laureates share this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their discoveries about one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe, the black hole. Roger Penrose showed that the general theory of relativity leads to the formation of black holes. Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez discovered that an invisible and extremely heavy object governs the orbits of stars at the centre of our galaxy. A supermassive black hole is the only currently known explanation.

Penrose got half the prize, with Genzel and Ghez sharing the other 50%.

#NobelPrize #BlackHoles #Physics

Skylab (1973-1979)

Skylab (1973-1979)

Skylab was the United States’ first space station that orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979. The station was equipped with a solar observatory (Apollo Telescope Mount), workshop and scientific equipment for conducting experiments in space.

Launched on the retiring Saturn V rocket, the station saw three manned expeditions between 1973 and 1974. Thousands of photographs of Earth were taken, and the Earth Resources Experiment Package (EREP) viewed Earth with sensors that recorded data in the visible, infrared, and microwave spectral regions.

Plans to reuse Skylab for further space missions were delayed and eventually scrapped due to the development of the Space Shuttle Program.

On July 11th 1979, Skylab was de-orbited and fell back to Earth amid huge worldwide media attention.

#WorldSpaceWeek #Skylab

Sculptor Galaxy

Breathtakingly Beautiful Galaxy With an Enormous Halo of Extreme Star Creation

The Sculptor Galaxy has an enormous halo of gas, dust and stars, which had not been observed before at frequencies below 300 MHz. The halo originates from galactic “fountains” caused by star formation in the disk and a super-wind coming from the galaxy’s core.

Astronomers have used a radio telescope in outback Western Australia to see the halo of a nearby starburst galaxy in unprecedented detail. A starburst galaxy is a galaxy experiencing a period of intense star formation and this one, known as NGC 253 or the Sculptor Galaxy, is approximately 11.5 million light-years from Earth…

Evolutionary Ethics: Thoughts upon reading “The Moral Landscape” By Sam Harris

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Evolutionary Ethics: Thoughts upon reading “The Moral Landscape” By Sam Harris (Originally Written 7/2011)

I find myself back in intensive care today having rushed to the ER throwing up blood. I have an endoscopy scheduled to see if they can find the bleed. I haven’t been here in Jacksonville long, but I have every faith that Mayo will discover what is wrong with me. There are a lot of medical questions I should be dominated with, but I’ll either survive this hospital stay or I won’t. There is nothing I can do about it so I am very calm. Instead my mind in preoccupied with morality. I just finished reading The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris and the questions he posits is morality defined and developed by religion or by science and specifically evolution is consuming me. It’s an interesting question and while he is firmly on the side of science, so many of my friends and family would argue the opposing point of view.

I’ve been on a religious search for meaning most of my adult life having tried on Christianity, Judaism, and finally Buddhism. Buddhist thought has carried a lot of weight with me for several years as I have an uneven practice. I will meditate and study for months on end and then nothing for a few months. As I lie here in the ICU though the desire to be able to pray to a loving God beseeches me. I can understand the comfort Christians receive

from such practices. The questions though with Christianity are too many and complex for me to find comfort. I’ve read the bible cover to cover three times, the first time back in college and the doctrine in not foreign to me in the least. The quote by an unattributed author keeps ringing in my head of the difference between philosophy and religion, “Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.”

Epicurus was an Ancient Greek philosopher who lived from 341–270 BC. He taught that pleasure and pain are measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space. Most of his writings have been lost, but among those saved was this question, “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

Is there a universal morality which governs all of humanity upon which judgement can be placed as opposed to the predominantly liberal idea of cultural moral relativity? I argue yes and it is not tied to any religion, as a matter of fact religion confounds the matter and it is only through science and evolutionary theory that one might comprehend the overreaching standard of morality and how liberals, as well as conservatives, complicate this problem by allowing moral relativity to flourish. The desire not to judge other cultures and be a victim of ethnocentrism has taken on a life of its own in this politically correct world. This belief that there is no higher moral authority due to the fact that there are multiple faiths and each of those adherents believe they are living a moral life or promises of happiness and bliss in the next life. In Western culture for instance it is easy to judge Islam and their subjugation of women, gays, and infidels based on Judeo-Christian doctrine. I shall argue that it is a moral imperative to vanquish fundamentalism in all religions.

First to understand this argument there requires some understanding of some working definitions via the Oxford dictionary. Morality, principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. Ethics, Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity. Welfare, The health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group. The absolute morality I am arguing is based upon the idea of that which increases the general welfare of humanity, or more simply for the greater good of society, as a whole is a moral framework. This is a human morality and not one simply for one ethnic, religious, or cultural group. You could argue for instance that slavery did indeed increase the welfare of the ancient Romans, but by all modern evaluations this is not seen as moral. For those of the Judeo-Christian faith for instance find the Old Testament of the bible is ripe with examples of God not only condoning, but embracing slavery. If God is indeed omnipotent and omniscient his condoning of slavery should be just as moral today as it was when the bible was first written. There are very few however who would argue that slavery is ethically right in this modern day.

Fundamentalists of virtually all faiths view their religious texts as the literal words of God. The prevalence of young earth creationists in Western civilization who believe the world is only approximately 6,000 years old is an example of this despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The rallying cry of this demographic seems to be, “I’m not a scientist. Science and evolution is only a possible theory.” This issue stems from the ignorance of understanding the difference between the concept of a scientific theory and the common use of the word theory. According to a Gallup poll in 2014, 4 in 10 Americans believe God created the world within the last 10,000 years. Approximately 50% of Americans believe in evolution over millions of years, with the vast majority believing God guided this process. Only 19% of Americans believe in a non-God guided natural selection view of evolution. Of course this is at odds with scientific consensus which dictates the humans or those of Homo genus emerged of earth some 2.5 million years ago. When I refer to evolution I will be referring to the unguided naturalistic theory of evolution.

The forced subjugation of women in Islam and requiring them to wear a burqa by Western standards is seen as immoral. The cultural apologists will argue that you can not judge one culture by your own standards. I agree with this up to a point, you can not ethically judge Islamic law based upon your Judeo-Christian standards as intrinsically they are all flawed as morality has changed in the past thousands of years since biblical law was written. If you can not apply religious standards to morality to determine an absolute it is obvious the morality is a relative concept based upon the culture? No. Through evolution, adaptation and science we can answer some of these questions about what is ethically permissible in a modern society and world at this moment in our evolutionary journey. Can we through evolutionary theory determine an exact moral code? No of course not, but we can theorize where our collective morality is headed. An example of this is the instance of slavery and racism in the United States. It is hard for anyone to reasonably argue that we haven’t morally evolved through the dismemberment of a slave based society, through lynchings in the not too distant past, to where we currently stand in the civil rights movement. Is this to say there is no racism? Of course not, but a great amount of progress has been made in the last one hundred and fifty years or so.

How can we derive our ethics from religion when the major religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam condone and embrace such concepts we find morally abhorrent such as slavery, severe punishment or death of an adulteress, forced marriage of a rape victim, misogyny, homophobia, genocide, etc. Is the golden rule moral because of an ancient text or do we recognize it as moral because we brought that belief with us to the reading of the bible? I argue the later. The golden rule or the ethic of reciprocity is found cross-culturally in virtually every religion from ancient Egypt, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. The ethic of reciprocity can not be argued stems from a Judeo-Christian worldview or even that it was borrowed from Ancient Egypt since there are unaffiliated cultures which predate Judaism in this belief. My argument is that it is basic human nature or in another words the result of thousands of years of adaptation and evolution.

I realize this belief is bound to be met with fierce opposition, but this is my personal philosophy shared by others such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and many scientists, but far from all of them. A new philosophical worldview is always met with fierce opposition, such is this case. Examples of morality derived through evolution and adaptation is ripe throughout the animal world. An example of this is monkeys will starve themselves to prevent their cage mates from receiving painful shocks. JH Masserman reported such adaptation in 1964, (Masserman JH. Wechkin S, and Terris W. 1964. “Altruistic” behavior in rhesus monkeys. American Journal of Psychiatry 121: 584-585.), “In one experiment, 15 rhesus monkeys were trained to get food by pulling chains. Monkeys quickly learned that one chain delivered twice as much food than the other. But then the rules changed. If a monkey pulled the chain associated with the bigger reward, another “bystander” monkey received an electric shock. After seeing their conspecific get a shock, 10 of the monkeys switched their preferences to the chain associated with the lesser food reward. Two other monkeys stopped pulling either chain—preferring to starve rather than see another monkey in pain.” This study is far from the only example: mice show greater distress at the suffering of familiar mice than unfamiliar ones, and chimpanzees have a demonstrable sense of fairness when receiving food rewards.

Sam Harris argued when faced with this philosophical as well as scientific point of view scientific ignorance is ripe and intervenes, “There is an epidemic of scientific ignorance in the United States. This isn’t surprising, as very few scientific truths are self-evident, and many are deeply counterintuitive. It is by no means obvious that empty space has structure or that we share a common ancestor with both the housefly and the banana. It can be difficult to think like a scientist (even, we have begun to see, if one is a scientist). But it would seem that few things make thinking like a scientist more difficult than religion.” (The Moral Landscape, p. 176). If we examine this from a Judeo-Christian perspective we are faced many inconsistencies that require answers. It is not my role here to argue whether religious faith is faulty or not, that is between you and what you believe in. It is my belief that morality is defined independent of any particular religion through evolution and adaptation.

Ingersoll Day

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On August 11th each year we , celebrate “The Great Agnostic” (actually an atheist) born on that day in 1833.

By all accounts a fine man and an unparalleled speaker, the Christopher Hitchens of his time. Ingersoll was one of the most popular orators of his age, when oratory was public entertainment. He spoke on every subject, from Shakespeare to Reconstruction, but his most popular subjects were agnosticism and the sanctity and refuge of the family. He committed his speeches to memory although they were sometimes more than three hours long.

Many of Ingersoll’s speeches advocated freethought and humanism, and often ridiculed religious belief. For this the press often attacked him, but neither his opinions nor the negative press could stop his increasing popularity. During Ingersoll’s greatest fame, audiences would pay $1 or more to hear him speak, a considerable sum for that time.

Here’s a quotation on his belief of the harmony, or lack of, between religion and science which of course is still a contentious debate:

“There is no harmony between religion and science. When science was a child, religion sought to strangle it in the cradle. Now that science has attained its youth, and superstition is in its dotage, the trembling, palsied wreck says to the athlete: “Let us be friends.” It reminds me of the bargain the cock wished to make with the horse: “Let us agree not to step on each other’s feet.”
~ Robert G. Ingersoll, American Soldier, Lawyer, Orator and Politician

Sam Harris On Atheism

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“Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, ‘atheism’ is a term that should not even exist. No one needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist.’ We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”
~ Sam Harris, from “Letter to a Christian Nation”

Atheism Quotes

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“Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things—that takes religion.”

~ Steven Weinberg, Theoretical Physicist, Nobel Prize Winner

“We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

~ Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist

“The president of the United States [George Bush] has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.”

~ Sam Harris, Neuroscientist

“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”

~ Christopher Hitchens, Journalist and Critic

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

~ Epicurus (341-270 BC), Philosopher

“Don’t pray in my school, and I won’t think in your church.”

~ Unknown

“We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.”

~ Gene Roddenberry, TV Screenwriter and Producer

“Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions”

~ Blaise Pascal, Mathematician, Physicist, Philosopher

“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! ..But He loves you… and HE NEEDS MONEY!”

~ George Carlin

“I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.”

~ Doug McLeod, Writer

“Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, ‘atheism’ is a term that should not even exist. No one needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist.’ We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”

~ Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

“Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.”

~ Unknown

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

~ Carl Sagan