Paleontology

Climate Change, SETI, And Dr. Fermi

Climate Change, SETI, And Dr. Fermi

"Life" Issues, activism, Astronomy, autonomy, awareness, Big Bang, Challenge, citizenship, civics, Climate Change, community, conflict, conservatism, Cosmology, Creation, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Current Events, Discernment, doubt, Education, Environment, Evidence, Evolution, faithfulness, Fundamentalism, Human Condition, Hurricanes, Ideology, Milky Way Galaxy, Paleontology, Politics, Rationality, Science, Secularity, SETI, The Big Blue Marble, Thinking, Uncategorized, Universe, Weather and Climate, Wildfires, Windstorm
The recent report on the findings of climatic research into the causes and probable evolution of climate change – a more accurate term than “global warming” – prompted me to consider a possible answer to Enrico Fermi’s classic question “Where is everybody?” Multiple generations of science fiction writers have projected a future in which the Milky Way Galaxy fairly teems with life, rather like Times Square on New Year’s Eve or the tavern in the first Star Wars movie  – so much so that the late Prof. Stephen Hawking has publicly counseled SETI investigators to – not literally STFU – but certainly to exercise due caution in broadcasting the existence of intelligent life on earth to every corner of the Galaxy. (Not that we have a choice by now:  earth’s electromagnetic emissions by now com
You Will Get A Real “Keck” Out Of This!

You Will Get A Real “Keck” Out Of This!

Abrahamic Traditions, Astronomy, autonomy, Biology, Change, Christianity, conservatism, Cosmology, Creation, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Einstein, epistemology, Evidence, Evolution, final cause, Fundamentalism, God, Goedel's Theorem, Methodology, Milky Way Galaxy, Paleontology, physics, quantum physics, Relativity, teleology, Theology, Uncategorized
I write this the morning (13 February) after Diane and I had a wonderful, long, and calorie-filled dinner with two very senior people associated with the Keck Telescopes and the other telescopes atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was a memorable evening that still resonates with me. One reason that conversation sticks with me -- aside from having discussed dark energy, blue-sky (black-sky?) projects for exploring the Proxima Centauri system, gamma-ray bursts, gravity waves, black holes, etc., etc. – is that one of the subjects we touched on banged down pretty hard on one of my hot-button issues:  scientific illiteracy in general in the US and the western world, and the need for informed, literate teaching of science to non-scientists. I mean science per se, not just astrono
Two And A Half Cheers For The “March For Science”

Two And A Half Cheers For The “March For Science”

activism, Astronomy, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, Big Bang, Biology, Challenge, Change, Christianity, citizenship, civics, conflict, conservatism, Consitution, Cosmology, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Current Events, Ecology, Education, Enlightenment, Environment, epistemology, Evidence, Evolution, Freedom, Fundamentalism, Ideology, Imagination, March For Science, Myth, Mythology, Paleontology, physics, progressive politics, Rationality, Science, Secularity, Speak out, Thermodynamics, Trump
I normally do not revise an already-published column, except in vanishingly rare cases of especially egregious error. But just this morning, after this "Skeptic's Collection" column had been published, my MSN feed contained a story about the urgency of finding a Planet B, quoting no less than Prof. Stephen Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge -- Sir Isaac Newton's old position -- corroborating my warning in the following paragraphs by predicting, basically species extinction if the March For Science rhetoric turns out to be correct that "There Is No Planet B".  For the sake of the human species, there damn well better be! ************************************************************************* I hate to nit-pick people and movements with which I am otherwise in to