#34 The backlash against science. Alice Dreger: How Do We Fix It?

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We'd like to think that science should exist outside of politics and researchers follow the truth wherever it goes. 

But the ideal of rational non-ideological science is under attack at many colleges and universities, says our guest, Alice Dreger. An historian who studies human sexuality and the ethics of medical research, Alice is the author of the provocative new book, "Galileo's Middle Finger." 

"I'm really looking at how activists go after scientists who have ideas that the activists don't like - usually about human identity," she tells us. 

Alice speaks of her concerns about attacks from conservatives from the outside universities and the "ideological bubble" inside, "where you have this sort of ...knee-jerk liberalism that causes people to shut each other down on the basis of 'you're making me uncomfortable.'  That is tremendously dangerous," she says.

Alice's argument is that facts are sacred.

Colleges, she says, should adopt principles from The University of Chicago. "Our job is to disagree with each other. Our job is to raise uncomfortable questions. That is what we do for democracy."

#25 Climate Change: Turning CO2 Into Rock: Peter Kelemen: How Do We Fix It?

The demand for energy around the world continues to grow each year.  And so does the amount of carbon dioxide that's pumped into the earth's atmosphere. 

What happens if the world fails to bring down CO2 emissions in the coming decades?  What if all the treaties and negotiations over climate change don't succeed in reducing the threat of global warming?

Our guest is Peter Kelemen, Chair of Columbia University's Earth and Environmental Sciences Department and Arthur B. Storke Professor of Geochemistry. Last year, Peter was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. 

His research on carbon capture and storage may offer one exciting solution to a global crisis.  Our show looks at a tool that could fight climate change by taking carbon dioxide and literally locking it up in the earth's crust, right under our feet.  

Geology research could be used to find new ways to suck up carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere, harnessing a natural process and using some of the fracking techniques now common in oil and gas drilling.  We look at the costs as well as the potential offered by this form of breakthrough scientific research.