Monday, October 27, 2008

How Science is Taught (Part Deux)

I wanted to elaborate on my previous post a bit. It was mostly limited to a lack of passion that the general public sees coming from the sciences, but this was far too short sighted. While I strongly believe that this must be rectified if our specie is going to continue to develop, I also see that it must not be limited to one area.

In many parts of the world, an air of anti-intellectualism is growing. To make matters worse, many people, especially amongst my generation and below (and some above as well) see the world as a collection of opinions that are equal to one another. Anyone with an intelligence greater then that of a plant can see the danger here.

One of the ways to combat this is through passion. Now passion is a finicky thing; it can lead to great things such as aiding your fellow humans, or it can lead to terrible things like blowing up those same humans. It is all about direction and temperance through logic. One such passion is a passion for knowledge. If you have that passion, use it. Do not hide it because it is ‘nerdy’ or ’strange’. If you share this love, it will effect others, it will show them what others might never have shown them. It might even inspire them to share their own passion. If you love art, learn all you can and take others to a gallery. If you love music, listen and go with friends to a concert. If you love literature, read and take your family to an open mic night. If you love science, discover and share the wonder at a museum. The most important part is not to keep it to yourself. The more people who are vocal about their positive passions, the more we can drown out the negative and enlighten the lost.

I had mentioned the dangers of viewing all opinions as equally valid earlier. While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, that doesn’t mean that they are worth a damn thing. If you are wrong on something, then you are wrong and that is the end of the discussion. If you think the moon landing was a hoax or that rubbing a crystal on your forehead will cure you of your illness then go right ahead and do so. But don’t feel offended when I tell you that you are wrong and think you need to shut up about it. No one should have to put up with willful ignorance, nor should anyone feel bad for stopping it from spreading.

If all opinions were equally valid, we would have no more need for doctors, after all, it is only the doctors opinion that you should stop smoking or get treatment for your TB. We wouldn’t need engineers, after all, it is only their opinion that the new bridge is not strong enough to support the weight of traffic. Who needs experts when we have people claiming to be able to cure the worlds problems through talking to yourself or ending hunger through eating air?

If you are like me, you want our specie to live long enough to enjoy cybernetic brains and colonies on Europa. This will not happen if we continue to allow people to think it is perfectly fine to remain ignorant. Use your passion (wisely), future generations may just depend on it.

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