Thanks for Encouraging Scientific Literacy John Oliver

John Oliver Science

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scientific Studies (HBO)- Screenshot- Used under Fair Use Act

Here’s the thing about science… for the most part, scientific progress is generally a slow process and boring to almost anyone who isn’t a scientist. That dynamic begs the following problem: With an Internet Culture that demands to be constantly wowed by new, provocative, stimulating, but not-too-intellectually demanding information, and click-bait news articles and blogs, how should media outlets, “news” sites, TV talk shows, and professional bloggers, all thirsty for advertising revenue via views present science and scientific studies? Well, for the most part, the answer is to propagate complete bullshit, hack interpretations of data, push non-peer-reviewed studies as proven facts,  or to re-package peer reviewed studies so that they fit nicely on the low shelf and can be married up with exciting buzz worthy titles.

Before moving forward, let me give you complete disclosure. I am not a scientist. I am a writer, poet, and ebay entrepreneur. But, I love science and highly esteem its value to humanity as an empirical method of discovery. Because of that, I cringe when the revelatory power of the Scientific Method and complex findings of scientific studies are wielded about by the unlearned in media like a toddler with a .357 revolver.

Too strong of an analogy? I think not. Maybe too weak. Toddlers with revolvers would only have six shots each to do damage with. A scientifically flawed online article or news story has the power to dangerously deceive millions. The thing is, the propagation of pseudo-scientific bullshit can and does kill people. That is particularly the case when people have an aversion to traditional, proven medical treatments for various cancers and other deadly afflictions and turn rather to the magical promises of unproven (and sometimes inherently dangerous) “natural” remedies. On the flip side, otherwise healthy people can be MADE ill via untested supplements and the like. Sure, a healthy and varied diet is to be lauded and applied in one’s life. Yet, when you need modern medicine and/or treatments backed by vetted scientific research to cure a particular malady, don’t presume that merely eating more of this or that and/or taking some crap the salesperson at your local supplement shop assures you is the miracle cure-all will fix your problems. You may well avoid traditional medicine, relying on “natural remedies” until the situation is too late to reverse. Do traditional treatments always work? Nope. But they have at least been tried and tested via trial, error, and peer-reviewed research. I’ll take that over some magic beans any day.

So, when I read or watch pseudo-science presented by news anchors, Internet article writers, and bloggers, I get a bit angry. I get angry when people are given false hope for their sicknesses by modern day snake oil salesmen. I get angry when energy is wasted in society filtering out the bullshit AND when people, even fairly well educated people, are fooled by said bullshit. Lastly, I get angry that our modern society is left intellectually weak by being allowed to hit baseballs off of the tee like children when we should be swinging at fast, difficult pitches like adults- metaphorically speaking. Though, I can’t blame only those who are selling snake oil. As a society, we are buying it time and time again.

Because of all that, I am thankful to the John Oliver Show people for their new related segment. Please, please, PLEASE, my fellow humans… let the scientists do their work. Give them time and funding to do it. Let the scientists re-test and peer-review the experiments and data. And, when their findings are a bit outside the realm of our own layman’s understanding, we should let the scientists explain it to the rest of us rather than the news anchors.

Please watch and enjoy the following video:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scientific Studies (HBO)

I encourage you to seek to expand your own understanding of the Scientific Method and various areas of scientific exploration as a part of your own personal study and life-long learning. I assure you, having a finely tuned bullshit detector is a very handy thing in this world. You may also find some merit in this handy poster from a previous blog:

Keys to Sound Thinking Chart

“Keys to Sound Thinking” Poster by: Luke Austin Daugherty

 

 

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My Worst Fears (An Honest Poem)

 

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“My Worst Fears” -an original poem by Luke Austin Daugherty. Copyright 2016, words and photo, all rights reserved. Written on my vintage Royal Mercury manual typewriter.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing! Please visit http://www.lukeaustindaugherty.com and find me on social media. -Luke

Watch the World Burn (A Poem)

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“Watch the World Burn” -an original poem by Luke Austin Daugherty. Copyright: 2015 picture and words, all rights reserved. No use without the permission of the author.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my posts. -Luke

If World Peace -A Poem by Luke Austin Daugherty

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“If World Peace” -A Poem by Luke Austin Daugherty (page 1 of 2) Copyright 2015 on words and picture, All Rights Reserved by the author

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“If World Peace” -A Poem by Luke Austin Daugherty (page 2 of 2) Copyright 2015 on words and picture, All Rights Reserved by the author

As always, thank you for reading and sharing, my friends! We are all in the “life thing” together. -My Best to You, Luke

“Thinking of Victor, Fondly” -A Poem by Luke Austin Daugherty

"Thinking of Victor, Fondly" -A Poem by Luke Austin Daugherty, Copyright words/picture- 2015. All Rights Reserved.

“Thinking of Victor, Fondly” -A Poem by Luke Austin Daugherty, Copyright words/picture- 2015. All Rights Reserved.

My friends, be human. And tell those who mean something to you that they do. -Luke

Luke Austin Daugherty writing in Friendship, IN. Photo Credit: Nathanael Daugherty

Luke Austin Daugherty writing in Friendship, IN. Photo Credit: Nathanael Daugherty

“The Wanting Pier Prose of a Travelling Scofflaw” -A Pictorial Poem

This is another “poetry happens” type of thing from my recent trip to Michigan. If you look around the steel columns on this pier in Holland, Michigan, you’ll find lots of names and miniature works of art done in permanent marker or scratched into the paint. I decided to add my own “mark” as it were…

“The Wanting Pier Prose of a Travelling Scofflaw”- a pictorial poem by Luke Austin Daugherty. Copyright picture and words: Luke Austin Daugherty, All Rights Reserved 2015

Text:

Mind not

This steel column

Traveler

The real poetry

Lies just beyond

In the tempestuous

Blue

In the deep

In the white-foam breakers

In the distant

Canvas sails

Pulled taut (Forgive the use of “taught” in the pic. It’s hard to proofread marker on-site 🙂

By Michigan wind

Wayfarer

Look away

L.A.D

“The Wanting Pier Prose of a Travelling Scofflaw”- a pictorial poem by Luke Austin Daugherty. Copyright picture and words: Luke Austin Daugherty, All Rights Reserved 2015

“Even If” -A Pictorial Beach Poem Written in the Sand

Even If 1

Even If 2

Even If 3

Even If 4

Even If 5

Even If 6

Even If 7

Even If 8

Even If 9

Even If 10

Even If 11

Even If 12

Even If 13

Even If 14

By: Luke Austin Daugherty- Written on the beach at Tunnel Park in Holland, MI.

All pictures and words, copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved- Luke Austin Daugherty

“Decade” -A Poem by Luke Austin Daugherty

Words and picture copyright 2015, Luke Austin Daugherty- All Rights Reserved

Words and picture copyright 2015, Luke Austin Daugherty- All Rights Reserved

This is the second poem that I’ve written on an old Royal Mercury compact manual typewriter that I picked up at a thrift store last week. I love how the thing types!

My new/old Royal Mercury typewriter. Photo: Luke Austin Daugherty Copyright 2015

My new/old Royal Mercury typewriter. Photo: Luke Austin Daugherty Copyright 2015

The Sunday Sermon: A Funny and Motivational TED Talk by Shia LaBeouf

Though this is a comedic and over-the-top presentation, you may find some motivation and sagely advice just the same.  🙂

Have a great week! As always, thank for reading and sharing. -Luke

The Part of “Love is the Middle” that I Can’t Read to My Kids

Luke Austin Daugherty & Dad, Joe Daugherty, in Sept. 1978

Luke Austin Daugherty & Dad, Joe Daugherty, in Sept. 1978

It is a hell of a thing to lose somebody you love deeply. And just with the passing of time, it doesn’t cease to be a hell of a thing. Time may knock the edges off of your hurt, but it never completely goes away. At least the hurt from losing my father hasn’t dissipated after six years. I don’t even think that is a bad thing.

I am very close to being finished with the final edit of “Love is the Middle: The True Story of a Father and Son.” For more information on the book, please visit this link to a previous blog: Love is the Middle: Thoughts on Finishing Draft One

I find that it is helpful when editing, not only to read the text through normally, but also once through aloud. Doing so, at least for me, forces a slower pace and I catch mistakes that I would otherwise miss.

With that in mind, I decided that for my out-loud reading of “Love is the Middle,” I would just read the book to my kids about a chapter per day over the course of a few weeks.As of today, we only have a few chapters left and I have enjoyed reading the story to them.

The chapter we read today was about when my dad told me that he had cancer and the three years leading up to his death. Reading that chapter to my kids, like several other sections of the book, was difficult. Since I wrote the entire book in a number of coffee shops, I was forced to visit many deep emotions in a public setting. It was one thing to write the book with all of my internal dialogue quietly being translated into text on a laptop by my fingers . But, I have found that vocalizing those same words to my children is quite a bit more difficult. I not only “think” the words, but hear my own words. The mere act of speaking some of the stories in the book versus only reading them has been quite a chore at times. But, I have managed through the book so far.

As I finished up today’s chapter, which included a story about the last full “normal” day I ever spent with my dad, reading became harder for me. Then, when I saw the next chapter to come, the one that tells the account of my dad’s death and the days surrounding it, I realized that I cannot do my duty tomorrow. When I only contemplated reading that chapter aloud, I quickly realized that it would be beyond the scope of my ability. Or, if not beyond my ability, beyond what I desire to do.

I suppose I will just let the kids read the rest of the book through on their own or perhaps my wife will read it to them. But, not me. It would just be too damn hard to speak all of the remaining words. Since I have not had much luck so far predicting how the book will hit me emotionally, I have no desire to break down crying like a child in front of my children. I think that would be the most likely outcome. Rarely do I hold back my emotions from my children, but some of them need to be for only me.

I hasten to complete and publish the book. I hope you will read and share it.

-Luke