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Do you believe in these fundamental scientific facts?

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If you’re like me, you take great pleasure in arguing with political conservatives about scientific matters. What makes it so much fun is that the facts are almost always on your side.

I say “almost” because scientific knowledge is forever growing and changing. For example, we now know more about the origins of the universe  than we did just 50 or 100 years ago. Lots of the theories we accepted as fact when I was a kid have long since been debunked.

I’m not a scientist myself. Far from it. But I try to keep up with the prevailing theories regarding certain fundamental issues. More to the point, I keep an eye out for stuff that refutes views that were popular not so long ago or still are.

This attitude has contributed greatly to my rejection over the years of many of the religious beliefs I used to embrace. More than a few of the stories in the Bible now strike me as pure myths.

In the current political scheme of things, conservatives tend to be more distrustful than liberals regarding scientific matters. Republicans, for example, are more skeptical than Democrats about global warming. That subject is one of my favorites to debate — for two principal reasons: the facts generally are on my side, and right-wingers tend to view the issue in cultural terms.

Which brings me to the subject of three fundamental scientific principals about life on this planet.

(1) Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old.

(2) Life has existed on Earth for greater than 3 billion years.

(3) You, I, the great apes, octopuses, and my pet tarantula all share a common ancestor.

It shouldn’t be very difficult to find people who don’t agree with those facts. They’re everywhere.  So, opportunities for the fun of debating these matters are all around you.

Of course, you’ll want to prepare for the battle. You’ll want to read a little about this stuff. But it shouldn’t  take too long  before you know more than the typical person who believes in fairy tales.

Have fun.

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  1. The scientific search for our earliest ancestor is on-going. According to recent biopoisesis studies of how life arises from non-living matter, it all began in a blue-green primordial ooze which spawned microscopic beings about 4 billion years ago. Our earliest common ancestor who gave birth to live young is believed to be a small furry-tailed, tree-climbing animal resembled a tiny, shrew, who scurried through the forest in search of insects. In March, during the Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier, my wife and I visited a booth where folks were invited to taste an offering of roasted insect varieties. They might have benefited from a pinch of basil.

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