Some idea of the sphericity of the Earth seems to have been known to ancient Greeks before Pythagoras, but it was he who first proposed that Earth was round sometime around 500 B.C. Later on, many philosophers, astronomers, other scientists and travelers provided different proofs for the sphericity of Earth – by logical, visual, and mathematical means and by practical demonstration.
The Earth's climate has been changing since its formation, through multiple cycles of glacial advance and retreat. The last ice age ended about 7,000 years ago, launching the modern climate era and the beginning of human civilization.
The current warming trend is extremely likely to be mostly the result of human activity, particularly our industrial activities which have raised the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances allow us to collect many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale, which reveal signs of a changing climate. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, and the growing season continues to lengthen.
Effects that scientists had predicted would be the result of global climate change are happening now: loss of sea ice, accelerated rise in sea levels, longer and more frequent droughts, intense heat waves, and stronger hurricanes.
In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a former British doctor, falsely linked the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to autism in a paper published in the medical journal The Lancet. The paper, which was based on a study involving only 12 children, manipulated and mispresented data, and was eventually retracted by the co-authors and the journal. Wakefield, who also had major financial conflicts of interest, was delicensed by the medical authorities.
Autism researchers have since decisively shown again and again that the developmental disorder is not caused by vaccines. To date over half a million children have been examined and these studies have found no association between having received the MMR vaccine and being autistic.
Stunningly, the vaccine-autism myth still persists and leads to a growing number of unvaccinated children.
Alternative facts are the opposite of reality - which is delusion (fiction), and the opposite of truth - which is untruth (lies). The term that initially appeared during political discourse reflects a common acceptance of manipulation, which also occurs in science.
The evolution from "lies" to "alternative facts" to "facts" seems dangerously easy. The result of this kind of relativism finds its example in the anti-vaccination movement: fake proofs, widely spread, are treated today by so many people, even educated people, as "facts".
Science is a process that builds true knowledge of how the world works, based on evidence and logical reasoning. It is a process of systematic mental and physical actions: asking questions, exploring the literature, finding inspiration, proposing answers, testing the answers by experimenting, making carefulobservations, gathering and interpreting data, and building theories. Scientists persistently try to disprove their own theories and therefore prevent mistakes becoming "facts", most of the time.
We believe that the unawareness, confusion, and misery troubling our planet can be overcome with genuine general education. Through education people may realize that our planet is remarkably small and that an industrial facility in the tropical zone can affect what is happening in the Arctic.
Educated people can recognize opinions that are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated, and well supported by evidence, logic, and argument from those that are not.
Educated people know that the color of one's skin, the country in which one was born, the language that one speaks, the shrine to which one goes or does not go, and the clothes that one wears are neither morally good nor evil.
Educated people know that anyone’s cultural heritage has unparalleled value to everyone. Educated people cherish social and demographic diversity, justice and the inclusion of those who were excluded, but they also recognize the need for a common, shared identity and a consensus on moral norms and values.
Educated people know that caring for and striving to improve the lives of those who have been dealt a bad hand, those who are less privileged, improves the lives of us all.
The quote from Voltaire has its echo in the words of other philosophers. "I know that I don’t know. But you don’t know that you don’t know, and that is why you think you know.” is what Socrates used to say. Not knowing, as in other cases of being uncomfortable, is a great incentive for personal growth. And conversely, holding convictions without evidence is a sign of ignorance. Bertrand Russell said: “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."
GRADE is a symbol of the rational approach, of science in its best incarnation. If you feel like us, join the community and help us implement knowledge based on evidence in your country, state, village, or just under your roof.