Science is Supposed to Welcome Dissension, Not Discourage It

posted by Richard, Jul 24, 2018

 

I’ve loved science ever since I was a little kid.

And not just science fiction, though I’m sure, like many budding scientists, it provided the initial shove. No, for me, it was Mr. Wizard’s World. It was Bill Nye the Science Guy. It was Carl Sagan.

When Cosmos released on VHS sometime in the mid-90s, I bought the set, lost them in a move, and subsequently bought them again. I still remember sitting in class fascinated the day we learned about different classifications of clouds, which might as well have been characters from Roman mythology as far as I was concerned. Ah, lovely Cirrus, stealthy Stratus, mighty Cumulonimbus

Yep, clouds. That’s one nerdy kid, right there.

Even my tenth-grade biology teacher, with his droning, insectile voice and interminable blackboard notes, could not dissuade my love of science. In college, the day I found out I could do so, I promptly changed my major from Philosophy to History and Philosophy of Science. Suddenly I was writing papers about Einstein, time travel paradoxes, and wormholes, pretty convinced I had discovered just about the coolest subject ever. When I turned in my final paper on the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics, I was pretty certain I was setting the scientific world on its ear. (I wasn’t. But that’s a sad story for another day).

So, I find it a little more than disturbing lately, in medias both traditional and social, the concept of “science” being used as a bludgeon.

Science, we are told, is now the end of an argument, as in: “I’m right, because Science.”

This bothers me. A lot. Continue reading Science is Supposed to Welcome Dissension, Not Discourage It

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I’m Not Left or Right or Center, or Any Other Damn Direction—And Here’s Why

I came across this wonderful Tweet from Michael Krieger the other day, and thought I’d share:

Amen. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

But I can certainly say more 🙂 Continue reading I’m Not Left or Right or Center, or Any Other Damn Direction—And Here’s Why

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Should We Fear the Future? The Case Against Cowering

 

“There’s a lot of scary stuff going on right now.”

Yep. I’ve heard some version of that from friends, colleagues, and family members pretty much my whole adult life.

Hey, they’re not wrong. Fanatical terrorism, genocidal wars, every Western government in the world going bankrupt (seemingly at once), the banking system and stock market on the verge of collapse, the spread of super-diseases, the industrialization and poisoning of the food supply, loopy fascist maniacs on the verge of being elected…

Here’s what’s certain: the world will look very different in ten years. Maybe sooner.

Does that mean we should just curl into a ball and wait for the end?

Maybe.

But let’s consider a few things first, shall we? Continue reading Should We Fear the Future? The Case Against Cowering

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The Freethinking Manifesto

 

  1. Think for yourself. Most people accept the ideas they’re taught by their parents, school, peers, and culture. Independent thought is discouraged in our early lives. We are frequently punished for disagreeing with others (even if only with scorn) and rewarded for towing the line. This is how bad ideas perpetuate through the centuries. The older ideas are, the harder they are to question, challenge, or oppose. An independent thinker, however, is oriented toward truth rather than pleasing others or society. Independent thought is freethinking–they are synonymous.

Continue reading The Freethinking Manifesto

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What’s Holding Humanity Back?

 

Are humans living up to their full potential as a species? I’d be willing to bet you think not. If you’re like most of us, you think humans are aiming their sights pretty darn low. In some ways, barely above savage.

Humanity makes it hard for us to be optimists. The higher the potential you see for humanity, the more likely you are to receive pain for your troubles. It would be so easy to become a cynic, frustrationjust throw up your hands and think the worst, and have the comfort of being “right” all the time. Trouble is, you just don’t feel that way. You know, on some level, we are capable of so much better. The good news is, you’re not alone. There are other crazies like you, and we get it. You feel a sense of disconnect with society, as if it’s slipping along on rails toward a precipice with the bridge out, heedless to your cries that we’re all wearing wings. Continue reading What’s Holding Humanity Back?

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