Killing Science

Killing Science

Adrienne BoettingerSaturday,1 November 2014

The Snap

Human beings hate being proven wrong. We hate even the mere idea of it. There’s nothing we hate more…except maybe earworms like this one or going to lengthy, post-lunch meetings. But on almost a universal basis, we hate being told we’re wrong. That’s probably the main reason why we’ve had such a love/hate relationship with science. We love it when we find science that validates our viewpoints but hate all other science for being lies trotted out by our opponents to tear down our arguments. This isn’t anything new; in fact it goes back for hundreds of years. What’s surprising is that today in the age of the Interwebz — when almost everything seems knowable and provable — so many informed people are trying to silence science.

The Download

Pope Francis proved again this week why we have become semi-devoted fans of his awesomeness; he openly admitted that science is not the devil and that it’s possible to believe in the truth of science while still keeping the faith. This act my seem small and a little belated but considering the lengths at which the Catholic Church previously tried to obliterate science, Pope Francis’ statements are pretty revolutionary.

However, there is another breed of humans that simply refuses to be proven wrong. These are the same humans who mastered the art of the faux apology and whose primary function seems to be whining incessantly about his or her colleagues; of course, we are referring to politicians.

Whether it’s pretending that global warming is just God hugging us closer or winning points with the uninformed and fearful by locking up healthcare workers who risk their lives to help people dying from communicable diseases, politicians are outstanding at denying science. Many of them are like walking billboards for why America does so poorly in the sciences in comparison to other developed nations.

Science is scary. It tells us we have to leave our children and children’s children more than a smoldering ash heap of a planet, we have to do tough things. It tells us our actions have consequences that live on long after we’re pushing up daisies, or whatever hellish, moonscape matter will replace living organisms once we’ve totally screwed over the earth.

The way we counter science is to chip away at it from all angles while presenting other lunatic ideas in such a way where it seems like someone is being prejudicial to not give our insane, groundless theories the same weight as proven scientific fact. We say we’re only looking out for the welfare of our constituents when we change the education system to make our children dumber or ignore medical advice from those people who’ve actually graduate from medical school.

And for anyone who says we shouldn’t be surprised this is what politicians are doing in an election year? We will staple things to your head for two reasons. Firstly, it’s always a damn election year. Campaign season has turned into a never-ending festival of trash talking and blame avoidance. Secondly, we just shouldn’t expect more from our politicians. We should demand it. We should demand they take us more seriously rather than pandering to the most easily frightened among us. We should demand they listen to other people around them who are way smarter in many areas (like the environment, medicine, law, yogurt choices, birth control, color coordination, basic human decency, etc.).

For those who think we’re being a bit extreme, the next time you have to go in for a major medical procedure please tell those attempting to treat you that you’d rather have Governors Christie or O’Malley perform  your open heart surgery. After all, medical advice is just as valid when it’s coming from the mouths of people who seem to have failed out of every science class they ever took.


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Hat Tips:

SmithsonianWired,  Scientific AmericanWashington PostLevel Playing Field InstituteNew York TimesMashable, Image Credit: Flickr

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