1.

Women only make 77 cents on the dollar for the same work

On its face, this claim is demonstrably false. The 77 cent statistic comes from the Census Bureau, which looked at full-time working men and women. This figure does not adjust for matching occupations, and for the same number of hours. If men are more likely to work longer full-time hours, and work in different occupation than women (such as finance, engineering, oil rigs, vs. social work, teaching, etc. for women) then by definition just looking at full-time work is not the same as looking at “equal work.”   

If you want a more in-depth explanation for why this is false and misleading, check out this article, among many other sources you could look up.

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2.

Evolution is just a theory

Scientific theories, and the theories you and friends come up with about who will win the big football game, are two very different things. Evolution is a scientific theory, not a guess, or even a hypothesis. According to wikipedia’s page on this, a scientific theory is  “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation.”

Spoiler alert: evolution happened and there is overwhelming evidence for it. The religious right’s knee-jerk catchphrase on this issue, that intelligent design should be taught in schools, because it too is “just a theory” like evolution, is nonsense. Intelligent design is not a scientific theory, so it does not get to enter a science classroom

3. 

97% of scientists agree “climate change is real, man-made and dangerous”

Like other dogmatic recitations of faulty statistics, this one has been popular among politicians looking to push certain public policy initiatives. While the debate over the extent to which global warming, or “climate change” is real and dangerous, is a very serious and important debate to have it does not help the cause to undermine your credibility with exaggerated or misleading data. This article from WSJ does a much better job than I can on explaining the source of the statistic. Here is an excerpt below:

“Another widely cited source for the consensus view is a 2009 article in “Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union” by Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, a student at the University of Illinois, and her master’s thesis adviser Peter Doran. It reported the results of a two-question online survey of selected scientists. Mr. Doran and Ms. Zimmerman claimed “97 percent of climate scientists agree” that global temperatures have risen and that humans are a significant contributing factor.

The survey’s questions don’t reveal much of interest. Most scientists who are skeptical of catastrophic global warming nevertheless would answer “yes” to both questions. The survey was silent on whether the human impact is large enough to constitute a problem. Nor did it include solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists or astronomers, who are the scientists most likely to be aware of natural causes of climate change.”

4.

The death penalty is a form of “cruel and unusual punishment,” and is therefore unconstitutional

People who believe the death penalty is an unconstitutional violation of the 8th amendment’s protections from “cruel and unusual punishments,” probably annoy me more than any of the others on this list. Put aside the fact that the death penalty was in use when the Bill of Rights was ratified. Put aside the fact that death can be induced in a non-cruel way (proponents of euthanasia argue this after all) and that death is the furthest thing from an “unusual” thing.

The constitution explicitly mentions the death penalty, making it something that could not be more constitutional. And not just once, but twice! The 5th amendment says: “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” the 14th says: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” Clearly, if the state provides you with due process, it has the option of taking your life. How people can believe that the 8th amendment forbids the death penalty boggles my mind. It’s probably one of the worst violations of common sense someone could point to in the political arena.

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