As I hope I have made abundantly clear on this site, I am a proponent of science. I admire scientists, science communicators and science enthusiasts alike. I firmly believe that there are very few, if any, problems facing our species that we cannot solve if we buckle down and slather it with science. Which is why when I see people online advocating practices that bear no scientific merit, have no peer-reviewed studies corroborating their claims, and are frankly just so batshit crazy that they border on dangerous (i.e. Anti-vaxxers), I get a little miffed and try to start a conversation. This usually ends in an argument, but such is the nature of challenging people’s poorly conceived beliefs.
Regardless, our nation faces a great threat from scientific illiteracy, most notably in the form of politics. Government and science rarely get along, but have at least been cordial to one another for quite some time. Then enters President Donald J. Trump. Love him or hate him, he is the President of the United States of America, but he comes with a shitload of baggage. He is a man who fervently denies science in favor of what he just “feels” is correct, even after people rightly call him on his bullshit. He is a man so confident in his wrong answers that even when people carefully explain exactly why his answer is wrong, he simply turns his back and pouts, “Well, that’s what you believe.”
Fact is fact, Mr. President, and no one is entitled to their own facts.
Now we have a culture of anti-science springing forward from the wake of such a brainless election campaign cycle where people are convinced that NASA is spreading lies and CGI-fakery, all while tweeting their memes on the cell phones and internet that NASA fucking gave them. People genuinely believe the Earth is flat. People genuinely believe that the moon landing was fake. People genuinely believe that the theory of evolution is “just a theory”, not knowing exactly how much testing and experimentation and verified results are needed for a hypothesis to become a theory. We are teetering on the edge of regression back to a time when witches were burned at the stake and heretical behavior that deviated from the strict passages of the Bible was met with swift and bloody ends. This is exactly why Neil deGrasse Tyson is absolutely correct in deeming the words in his Facebook video “the most important words” he’s ever spoken.
Dear Facebook Universe
I offer this four-minute video on “Science in America” containing what may be the most important words I have ever spoken.
As always, but especially these days, keep looking up.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson
Check out the video for yourself.
NDT is right that we need to acknowledge basic truths about our impact on the Earth before we can even have a conversation on what to do about it. Like it or not, science and politics have a powerful impact on our global community. And when we have someone in office who cites sources like InfoWars, we have an administration who is actively declaring war on science. This does not go unnoticed by the public, who then feel validated in their ignorance. We need to have a discussion on what comes next for the human race. We need to talk about what we are leaving for our children, their children, and their children’s children. What’s more, we need to have this conversation today.