Thursday, May 28, 2020
Truth in advertising: I was never all that interested in science when I was in school. I loved to read, loved writing poetry. I lived for music class. In high school, theatre was my everything. I suspect it had something to do with the way it was taught, because I have come to love science so much more as an early childhood educator.
Be that as it may, even though I found those classes to be passable or downright tedious as a student, I never, ever doubted the validity or importance of science. I was raised believing that those who made scientific breakthroughs that benefited humanity were a special kind of hero. I had a book I read over and over about Louis Pasteur, Alexander Fleming, Joseph Lister, Edward Jenner, and more. Although I felt no calling to be a scientist, I saw the pursuit of science as a noble calling, a social good.
I am frustrated beyond measure by the current mood that encourages us to “cancel” science if the scientific evidence doesn’t say what we want to hear. This is particularly dangerous as we are faced with the daily onslaught of a global pandemic. If public health officials, doctors, nurses, and other front-line carers have evidence-based guidelines to share, why do so many want to reject it?
At the national level we have seen a president who “disappears” the most experienced and competent member of his health care team, Dr. Anthony Fauci, simply because his guidance is rooted in science rather than the idealogical whims du jour. At the state level we have a Governor who stood up for science until it became a political liability.
Here in Howard County we have people who have decided that local governent has targeted the Roman Catholic Church for persecution because church reopening guidelines currently warn against eating or drinking as a part of religious ritual. Can we pause for just one moment and consider that there’s a scientific basis for a recommendation like this? That the sharing of Communion at this time could be a significant public health risk?
It wasn’t that long ago that we appeared to care about the devastating suffering of Covid 19. But we’re tired of that now. And it’s far more expedient to blame the hard times we are going through on anyone we see as standing in our way, instead of the powers of a disease we can’t truly fathom.
It’s as though the shutoff switch for accepting evidence-based public health guidelines has clicked. And now, it’s just “over”. Science is canceled. Your personal political opinions are now free to roam the internet and the community, making accusations and providing no proof. Bloviating at a lectern. Marching on Main Street. Threatening local politicians.
The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. - - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Our country used to see the work of science as courageous, and scientists as heroes. Not any more. Today science is for sissies.
Along with more than 100,000 Americans dead, that cultural change is something to be mourned.