Mapping the world's opinions

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This is a place to read about and contribute to discussions about science. Discover the controversies surrounding the world of biology, chemistry, physics and engineering.
Welcome to Science
Welcome to Science
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What are the best research philosophies in academia?

The term research philosophy refers to a system of beliefs and assumptions about the development of knowledge. In layman’s terms, a research philosophy is the choice a researcher makes on how to pursue his research, consciously or subconsciously. Scholars have identified five of the most prominent research philosophies in academia, however, choosing one is a matter of debate.

Should we explore space?

Humans have been fascinated with space for centuries. Mayans made a calendar from the stars, Galileo made a telescope, and a man was put on the moon. Space is vast, and scientists still don’t know a lot about it. Is space worth still exploring? Now that the space race has died down, does humanity need to continue to learn about space?

Do we need manned space flights?

Seeing a man on the moon was one of the coolest things of the 1960's. Since then, shuttle have been sending many, many people up to complete missions. These are costly and incredibly dangerous. Are manned missions economically viable or is it more effective to focus on less expensive drone missions?

What defines the word "love"?

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

Mapping the world's opinions.

Is psychology a real science?

Psychology as a discipline has been around for thousands of years, with some form of it being found in numerous ancient civilizations. However, as it has become more common for people to seek psychological help in recent years, the validity of science as a discipline has been questioned. Professionals in the field of science have debated it for years; is psychology a legitimate science, or is it a...

How can I help others during coronavirus / COVID-19?

The coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic will impact people in deeply asymmetric ways. While many people have access to healthcare, robust immune systems and the ability to pay for, transport and store stockpiles of groceries, many others are not as lucky. How can those better able to cope help those more vulnerable?

Are chatbots useful?

As AI and Machine Learning progresses in leaps and bounds, it is built more into our everyday lives. Chatbots have taken over customer service, and virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Home are more and more ubiquitous. But is this a good thing? Or is it simply disconnecting us from real people?

Do aliens exist?

It's a question humanity has pondered for centuries. People have throughout time reported seeing mysterious objects flying in the sky, sightings of little green men, and even being abducted. But is this just the stuff of imagination? Does life exist in outer space? Or are we really all alone?

Why are there so many coronavirus cases in the US?

The US now has more COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world. But why? The virus has taken hold at an alarming speed, outpacing other nations and leading to questions over its healthcare system, economy, capacity for state intervention and policy priorities. Is its spread symptomatic of other weaknesses?

What are the positions on gun control?

There are more than 300,000,000 guns in the United States. Guns have claimed the lives of more American citizens than all the wars since the American revolution put together. With guns holding a unique place in the American psyche, should there be measures in place to limit gun ownership? What should these measures look like?

Should human cloning be banned?

Cloning is the creation of a genetic copy of a sequence of DNA or of the entire genome of an organism. In the cloning debate, the term ‘cloning’ typically refers to a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). SCNT involves transferring the nucleus of a somatic cell into an oocyte form, where most of the DNA has been removed. The manipulated oocyte is then treated with an electric curr...

Is alien life a threat to religion?

When Copernicus and Galileo championed a heliocentric view of the universe, they were demonised by the catholic authorities. Would the discovery of life on other planets threaten the legitimacy and importance of modern religions in a similar way?

Should surrogacy be legal?

Surrogacy refers to the process through which a woman intentionally becomes pregnant with a baby she does not intend to keep, instead carrying the foetus for its intended parent or parents, usually because the parent is unable to do so without her. Surrogacy may be altruistic where the surrogate is not paid, or commercial where she is. Countries and states often have unclear legislation on surroga...

Are vaccines safe?

Immunisation is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. "Anti-vaxxers” have firm convictions about vaccines’ harmful effects and many people believe their children have been harmed by vaccines. Others have ‘vaccine hesistancy’: they are not inherently anti-vaccine, but are concerned or confused by the mixed m...

Do childhood experiences determine behavior in later life?

Yes, childhood is a key factor in who people are in adulthood. Traumatic events in childhood create phobias, likes and dislikes, and even core personality features. For example, children that are abused tend to be abusive parents. The flip side is also true, college students succeed more if they have support from their parents. Also, siblings come into play. Children with opposite-sex siblings ten...

Should abortion be legal?

Throughout the world, abortions and a woman's right to have them remain taboo. As abortion is illegal in many countries, women sometimes going to extreme and dangerous lengths to obtain them. Going beyond whether or not terminating a pregnancy is right or wrong, what are the pros and cons of abortion? And should abortion as a medical procedure be legal?

Should recreational marijuana be legal?

Following a public outcry over the case of Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy with epilepsy who was prohibited from bringing back a life-changing supply of cannabis oil from Canada, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has now been made legal in the UK. Unsurprisingly this has re-ignited the ongoing question: should we legalise the recreational use of cannabis?

Is climate change real?

It is the topic of our times, with changing weather around the world. Is the climate actually changing or are these global warming signals misunderstood and misattributed to natural cycles. Can we know if climate change real? Or is climate change a conspiracy of the left?

Should polygraphs be admissible in court?

Once called "the strip searches of the mind", polygraph test creators maintain that their lie detectors can detect when a suspect is lying in 80-95% of cases. Should we use them in the justice system to secure convictions? Or are polygraphs a dangerous and gross violation of a suspect's legal rights?

Were the moon landings faked?

NASA successfully sent six Apollo missions to the Moon . Twelve astronauts in total landed on the Moon's surface. Critics imply that all missions were faked and no men have landed on the Moon. They say that related photos and videos were actually taken in a studio.

What should we do about climate change?

We are in a climate crisis. People and natural systems around the world are feeling the impacts of a warming globe, from more intense heat waves, more intense storms, heavier rainfall, melting sea ice and retreating glaciers, etc, etc. No part of our world is left untouched, and the current rate of warming suggests things will only get worse. So what can we do to mitigate global warming? What woul...

Who is Greta Thunberg?

The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist has emerged as the face of environmentalism. Her school strike ignited a global movement, she has addressed US Congress and the United Nations on the threat of climate change and now she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But who is Greta Thunberg?

Will AI take our jobs?

Since the dawn of the information age, society has worried about artificial intelligence replacing human labour. We are now seeing rapid advances being made in this technology that makes the question of critical importance. What will the future of automation look like, and will AI take our jobs?

Should sex education be taught in schools?

With the increasing ubiquity of sexual images, teenagers receive a constant stream of sexual imagery and information. But whose responsibility is it to equip children and teens with the necessary knowledge to form attitudes about sex, relationships and intimacy? Is it the parents'? Or should educators provide teens with comprehensive sex education classes in schools?

Are dream interpretations accurate?

Understanding dream meanings has fascinated mankind for millennia. In ancient Greece, physicians believed dreams conveyed indications of diseases present in the body. Sigmund Freud thought dreams revealed repressed desires. Since then, pop psychologists, psychotherapists and psychoanalysts have all begun offering interpretations of clients' dreams. But are dream interpretations accurate?

Is the Earth flat?

The shape of the Earth has been the subject of popular and scientific interest for millennia. Are theories about the Flat Earth correct, or does the Earth have curvature?

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