Paul A. Offit writes: During the past few months, Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Rick Perry, Trump’s pick to head the Energy Department, and Donald Trump himself have all said that they don’t believe in climate change. The most upsetting part of their statements has been the misuse of the word believe.
Religion is a belief system. You have to believe that Moses parted the Red Sea or that Lazarus was raised from the dead. Because these phenomena violate the laws of nature, they are matters of faith.
Science, on the other hand, isn’t a belief system. It’s an evidence-based system. For example, you don’t have to believe in the theory of evolution. All you have to do is examine 250,000 years of fossil records to know that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. You don’t have to believe in the germ theory. All you have to do is recognize that vaccines, antibiotics, and sanitation programs have increased our lifespan by 30 years during the past century. And you don’t have to believe in the theory of gravity. All you have to do is drop your pen. None of these concepts are theories any more. They’re facts supported by evidence. [Continue reading…]