As a lifelong teacher and practitioner of science, it has been surreal indeed to behold the coronavirus pandemic in our nation and the world and disappointing to see our response compared to countries many Americans would belittle.
Our species has long since had a love/hate relationship with science — that discipline we are first exposed to in school that teaches us how to think and solve problems. Our books are full of empirical science, with facts aplenty and contributions from pioneers throughout history.
But it’s up to us to advance our knowledge of medicine and the natural world through objective, evidence-based research for the good of humanity and Earth.
Science has been called into question by its detractors before, and most got low grades posthumously for their efforts. Some were sloppy but most had agendas having little to do with fact-finding. Their “truths” dealt more with politics, religion and money than the legitimate aims of children with science fair projects. And that’s largely why we teach science.
Despite the best efforts of the agenda-driven pseudo-scientists, Earth is not flat, plants and animals developed slowly over millions of years, our planet isn’t the center of the universe, we have no real evidence of extraterrestrials, life doesn’t spontaneously generate and freakin’ ivory-billed woodpeckers are extinct.
Is all this important? Take a look at our beloved red, white and blue. While most other countries understand science well enough that they give up a bit of their freedom on a temporary basis, reducing COVID-19 to a minimum, we have literally millions of people who still gather unmasked in groups, risking death and disease spread instead of some inconvenience. Did they skip class the day health was taught?
We in America just reached 150,000 deaths and still have governors who won’t clamp down on self-destructive events. We have a president who touts the benefits of a drug that has been shown to have no effect, buoyed by a tiny group of obviously quack “doctors” who also believe demonic spirits inhabit us.
I run birding trips all over the globe and have good friends in many countries of four continents. They’re happy to benefit from America’s occasional generosity, as well as our tourism money, but are genuinely mystified how scientifically ignorant a country is that has put a man on the moon but can’t follow the advice of real doctors.
Since we’re a country where millions profess belief in God and claim to be “pro-life,” then for that God’s sake, stop killing each other and also risking suicide with unwise, self-destructive behavior. And don’t play games of convenience and politics with the lives of the little ones we want to shuttle off to school (to say nothing of the teacher’s lives).
Lastly, a heart-felt “thank you” to medical personnel (and science teachers) who care for COVID-19 victims, risking your own precious lives, truly being “pro life.” May we one day have the grace to follow your example.