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Comment Re:So how is it supposed to communicate? (Score 2) 81

At this point if a probe could just taste the plumes, it might be able to identify evidence of organic chemistry, heck maybe even be able to identify the vacuum-desiccated remnants of living organisms. We're decades away from building a probe that could actually bore through even a few kilometers of ice, but being able to build probes that could land on the surface and analyze the deposits left over from plumes should be well within current technical capabilities.

At the moment Europa really is one of our best shots at identifying life on another world. Even if Europa has never developed anything more complex than bacteria, being able to sample its DNA, or even cooler, finding some other system of protein encoding and heredity would literally be one of the most significant scientific discoveries in history. Just having life there, would go a long way to confirming the belief of many scientists that all life needs to get kickstarted is liquid water, organic compounds and energy.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 1) 640

Creationism has a generally accepted meaning; special creation of all life. Now there are different kinds of creationists; Old World Creationists who accept the age of the Earth but will not accept that humans are more than 6,000 (or 10,000 depending on your Biblical numerology) old. Then there are Young Earth Creationists, which take Bishop Ussher's creation chronology literally, and thus everything is only 6,000 years old. Intelligent Design advocates are generally Creationists who are just trying to slip Creationism past First Amendment prohibitions on teaching what is fundamentally a religious position in public schools.

You may be referring to Theistic Evolutionists, people who accept evolution, but still believe God played some role in it. One of the greatest biologists who ever lived, Theodosius Dobzhansky, was such an individual. A devout Orthodox Christian who accepted evolution, rejected special creation, and most certainly rejected the idea that science should attribute any specific part of creation to God.

Comment Re: No they aren't denying it (Score 1) 640

Rising sea level, shifting rain belts leading to currently arable land becoming less productive or even completely unproductive, mass migrations, shifts in balances of power as the so-called "bread basket" zones of high agricultural yield move from where they are to new locations.

Yes, warming is not a good thing.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 4, Interesting) 640

There's precious little written evidence that can actually be linked to any contemporary of Jesus Christ. The Gospels are problematic, and the earliest of them can't be dated any earlier than decades after Christ's death, and the others appear to be rewrites of early versions, with inconsistenticies (like the two geneologies of Christ). The closest to a contemporary document is Josephus's writings, and when you get rid of the helpful "interpolations" of 2nd or 3rd century writers, you're left with what amounts to "there was a holy man named Jesus of Nazareth who had a number of followers, and was put to death by the Romans."

There's about as much evidence for Jesus healing the sick or raising the dead as there is for Thor causing thunder and lightning.

Comment Re:It's Politics, Not Conspiracy (Score 3, Insightful) 640

Which is why science has built-in processes to deal with bias. It isn't perfect, and it can take time, but eventually fraud or bad science is caught.

And really, at this point, with so many streams of evidence for AGW, to deny that human-caused CO2 emissions are having a significant impact on global climate really is no different than denying that all life evolved from some common ancestor, or that eating high amounts of refined sugar is hazardous to your health, or that smoking cigarettes leads to cancer and lung disorders.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 5, Insightful) 640

Also see Big Tobacco's decades-long war on research into the dangers of tobacco smoke and nicotine, or the more recently revealed sugar industry's war on research showing the dangers of refined sugars to human health.

Creationism was probably the first really sophisticated propaganda war on science, but it has inspired several later pseudo-scientific propaganda wars. Creationism's intentions were more to protect Christianity from the perceived threat that if science could provide answers to the life we see today, it was going to chip away at the edifice of Theism until Atheism reigned supreme. I'd also argue that for at least some branches of Protestant Evangelism, there was the more real threat that the vast amount of social control those churches wielded being undermined if they were forced to accept that vast swathes of the Bible became understood as being metaphorical, and not literal.

The story is a bit different for the tobacco, sugar, and fossil fuel industries. For them, a general acceptance of science has material costs. People reducing sugar consumption would lead to significant drops in profits. Of course, we know just how much damage the defeat of the tobacco companies has cost their investors. As for the fossil fuel industry, well it's the biggest beast of all. The entire global economy, and some of the greatest accretions of wealth ever known to humanity, are tied up in the continued exploration, extraction and use of hydrocarbons. If there is a significant shift to alternative energy sources, the fossil fuel industry will find itself a lot poorer for it, with the long-term outlook not exactly healthy.

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