A postcard to the troglodytes
I guess it was too much to hope that Trump would just put his head down and try not to destroy the planet. And then I saw this article in CounterPunch. Jesus Christ on a cracker.
I’ve deferred on the issue thus far, not having an advanced science degree. Truth is, in my college years I wasn’t sure whether I was an artist or a scientist. So I gravitated to writing—which arguably combines both—and have made an adequate path as a science/medical writer. Speaking of which, gravity is a theory. Like evolution. Only you don’t see many far-right evangelical politicians, busy hiking up their pants, arguing against gravity.
But they do argue against evolution. I’ve blogged previously about this and about science denial in general. But only tepidly, perhaps. Not having that advanced science degree. And others have noted the scientific peccadilloes of the two primates at the top of the current administration, so the bases have been well covered.
Nonethefuckingless, I stand as an educated layman with passing knowledge of the scientific method. I’ve heard of how Copernicus and Galileo spit in the eye of religious dogma to map a mind-blowing understanding of the heavens; how Newton twerked new math into describing the motion of anything larger than a breadbox; how Heisenberg, Bohr, and Einstein dabbled with things far smaller than a breadbox; how Oppenheimer shouted warnings about atomic weapons, etc., etc. I recall a duck-and-cover alert or two in elementary school (although my parents, educated laypeople themselves, appreciated the futility and stupidity of the exercise and didn’t lift a finger to construct a family bomb shelter). And I vaguely sensed the role of politics and religion in all these things.
I guess it was Neil deGrasse Tyson’s recent statement on science funding that prompts me to step forward—a representative of that fraction of educated laypeople who drive cars, enjoy electricity, and own a Roomba. I’m not sure of our numbers, but I assume we eclipse the population of those who believe that the Earth is 9000 years old. To those people like me I say: We’re in deep shit. Give this a moment’s attention, please.
And to those people who would reduce levels of funding for the sciences, as the current administration would reduce them, here’s the postcard I’ve resisted sending you for fear of coming off like an elitist asshole:
As the 19th flipped over to the 20th century, the United States of America was huddled around with most other countries of the world, fearful, protectionist, mainly rural, mainly Christian, grappling with the problems of industrialization and making fitful progress. A couple of world wars caught our attention, and presidents from Roosevelt through Truman through Eisenhower through Kennedy decided that science was a good investment. The payoff has been multiple advances you doubtless take for granted, thinking perhaps they descended from the heavens.
They didn’t. Science has made America great. And whatever greatness might be attained going forward is likely to come from more science.
So please, take your pitchforks and theology, go home, and try living for one day like your great-grandparents.
The March for Science was held recently for a reason. Houston, we’ve got a problem. Certainly science has introduced its own set of problems. But a rational, secular, fact-based approach to our multicultural society seems to make the best sense.