Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 9.02.31 AMPeople continue to ignore scientific evidence

Staff Editorial

What do global warming and a recent measles outbreak have in common?

They’re both topics involving distinct scientific evidence that many people freely ignore in favor of individual beliefs.

But why are groups so divided over matters where factual evidence is so uncontested? The answer: popular culture, celebrity opinions and social media outlets that clog our information highways with misnomers about very important health and environmental concerns.

Maybe it’s time to get our facts straight.

According to NASA, the current warming trend is particularly significant because most of it is very likely human-induced and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate. The EPA states that the scientific evidence is clear—global warming, caused by higher concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, is coming directly from the increased use of burning fossil fuels for energy, deforestation and industrial processes. Yet, people still refuse to believe the facts—they would rather just listen to the latest radio pundit’s opinions and follow their lead rather than review the simple proven truths for themselves.

And as for the recent measles outbreak? It has been sustained by people opting out of a vaccine that decades of scientific research have proven safe and effective—simply out of fear that vaccinations increase risks of autism. Despite the fact that this study has been proven to be inaccurate, greater numbers of people continue to join the Anti-Vaccination Movement following the steps of celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Alicia Silverstone rather than their own doctor’s recommendations.

We turn to Dr. Oz before consulting a specialist. We respect the opinions of actors, talk show hosts and other celebrities, over credible research collected by scientists. We ignore undisputed fact, for rumor. And we are not doing anything to change our ways and become better informed.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but we need to improve our generation’s appreciation for the accuracy of scientific knowledge. Science may not be the only way of understanding these issues, but for the sake of accuracy it fares better than personal beliefs, religion, politics or celebrity pseudoscience.