And so we say so-long to one of the world’s most valiant and effective soldiers in the war on science.
So long, Stephen Hawking, and thanks for the unparalleled fight against our growing human inanity.
Hawking died March 13 at 76, his long life with ALS a miracle of science unto itself.
Most famous for his braniac charges into the unfathomable depths of cosmology, physics and astrophysics, Hawking was first and foremost a champion of science.
The loss won’t be taken lightly in a world where President Donald Trump leads a growing scourge of anti-science and anti-intellectual snipers. Many have now infested the White House and U.S. Capitol, but there are plenty right here at home. They could be and probably are in the grocery line with you, watching the same blockbuster movie or otherwise living the good life from a science they either don’t believe in, or dabble at it like a buffet.
I can tell you for sure they infect the Colorado state Capitol where they vote against things like clean-needle centers to help save some of the thousands of U.S opioid deaths, because they ignore the science and go with their “gut” instinct. It’s the same instinct that tells them that trying to brainwash homosexuals into being straight is safe, effective and a matter for God, not science and government.
It’s striking that Hawking abandoned us as Sentinel staffers turn out a centerpiece story this week on climate change. The story points out how the University of Colorado collection of medical and research entities on the Anschutz Campus in Aurora are gearing up to battle against the human health effects of climate change.
Hawking leaves us behind with the likes of that wacky Eighth Wonder of the World of Woe, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Mars.
Inhofe is one of the world’s most vocal climate-change deniers, a man who called that issue “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.”
Since the Republicans run the show in Washington, he and fellow science-denier EPA chief Scott Pruitt run the show on what they say is a climate sham.
They fill Fox News shows wondering aloud whether climate change is “real.” Reality is a few pages downstream from this column, where Anschutz docs are looking for ways to protect the lives of asthmatic kids in Western states, sickened by smoke from the ever-worsening wild-fires, brought to you by global warming, and not bad luck, karma or an angry god.
Inhofe and Pruitt play hard and fast to a group of conservative, cranky Americans who know little about science in general, and even less about complex global climatology.
Trump loves to tweet out that New England could use a little global warming during cold spells. Neither he, nor millions of Americans, a host of right-wing extremist radio-talkers and the Fox News Channel understand how stupid a thing that is to say, and how stupid it makes them look in the eyes of people who learned to do long division, read and pass Biology 101.
The reason so many people don’t “trust” science, is because they don’t understand it. It’s not a democracy. It’s not a state of mind, a mood or a whim. It’s really not even hard. It’s just a systematic application of thinking of an idea, collecting facts and data, proving your idea using the data, and having someone else be able to replicate your work.
Science deniers who drive cars, ride elevators, drink tap water and wear clothing live among the marvels of the scientific method every second of their lives.
There is virtually no difference between the proven science of making beer and the proven science of climate change. We know what makes beer good. We know what’s making our planet hot. What we don’t know, yet, is exactly how fast and what all the ramifications will be.
If you’re thinking I’m making too much out of this, I’ll point to two easy-to-understand things: We are the only country in the world that pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, thanks to Trump. The drive up I-70 into ski country is plagued with trees killed by beetles, who are out of control because of a warmer Colorado.
Greedy, naive, corrupt and just plain stupid climate deniers, however, aren’t the only ones that pick and choose scientific findings like favorite and disagreeable fruits and vegetables at the market. I know many a bleeding heart liberal who either outright defies the unequivocal science behind human vaccination, or has some lingering doubts based on nothing that makes a lick of sense or has a page of credible backing.
Many of these same fans of science look for the non-GMO label in their grocery stores. Despite the fact — yes fact — that there is no scientific evidence that genetically modified foods are any safer nor more dangerous for people to eat than non-GMO foods, critics continue to believe what they want, and not what science clearly shows.
Americans don’t know what in the hell we’re talking about. In study after study, our students fall further and further down the world list of kids who understand math and science.
So it’s doubly sad that we lose one of history’s most prolific thinkers at a time when we need more public personalities who help all Americans understand how science really works, and how it really saves lives, instead of the growing parade of politicians who increasingly endanger us all.
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