This thought-provoking meme came in my Facebook feed this evening and provides an opportunity to connect a few different thoughts:
Take the following example:
I currently have (and have had) a tumor in my brain around 4 or 5 mm that the doctors are closely watching.
I can’t see it. I can’t feel it. And so far, I have no side effects from it (and hopefully, never will).
YET, science says there is a tumor.
It doesn’t matter whether or not I “believe” one is there or not. The MRI scans for years have shown that it is there.
This is the tumor that prompted doctors to say that “if you ever wake up with the worst headache you’ve ever had, come in immediately.”
Science also shows I have a variety of problems in my bones, especially in my right leg. This is true. This is based on evidence.
So every morning when I wake up, I do a mental check where I examine the pain in my head and whether or not I can walk! If I don’t have a life threatening headache and if I can walk, the day is off to a good start!
Such knowledge is enough to make some overly fearful but it’s also inspiring that we can know so much. Most would just rather not know. People fear science because it is true. It is based on hard evidence. It can’t be disputed in any kind of everyday way. Knowledge and acknowledgment of it requires action and responsibility. And it prompts more knowledge and thinking.
People deny global warming and the dangers of oil, for instance, because they don’t want to know, they don’t want their survival mechanisms in capitalism to be challenged, they would rather deal with what can be seen or thought without regard for science (or history), and they can’t or don’t want to think about the past in terms of thousands or millions of years.
Of course, science is a social construction and constantly evolves, but it’s all based on reality, as knowable through evidence and interpretation.
Science is not subjective.
Somehow, given that evolution failed to help people en masse evolve into creatures who easily jump at opportunities to critically examine and improve society, we have to figure out a way of expanding the acceptance of scientific knowledge, internalizing and acting on these principles because the planet cannot continue on its current trajectory if humans are to survive as long as possible. Science makes clear that the rock we call “Earth” will continue long after we’re gone.
Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda