We all need to talk about Science more. Scientists, and I mean Scientists from all levels of training, need to use social media more often to disseminate knowledge of the natural world and the scientific method.
The reasons I think we need to have a massive deluge of Science discussion on the web are two-fold. One is the economic reason. Science education will enable more of the future generation adopting Science as a career. It will help our local leaders emphasize the importance of funding research in basic Science. This in turn provides employment to hundreds of thousands of people and innovation in these areas are also beneficial for the economy. So economics is the first reason.
The second reason we need more Science talk, and perhaps the more important reason, is that the scientific method has been the best method at explaining the world around us. So, for sake of Truth, the scientific method and what we have learnt from it have to be presented to a less science literate audience. Disseminating science will abolish all of the fantasy fiction and debunked hypotheses of cults and supernatural woo woo proponents. This will prevent adherents of these vastly irrational notions to make a quick buck from innocent individuals who want to find a quick-fix cure to their suffering, irrespective of its nature.
It will also prevent people like Ken Ham, the Australian Creationist who founded a Creation Museum in Kentucky, from ever having a center stage on the talk about the origin of species. It is reprehensible that we are giving equal footing to outdated, and blatantly unfalsifiable claims on the one side and to rigorously tested hypotheses on the other. It is a slap on the face of all scientists, but biologists in particular, that an intellectually unsound and baseless philosophy like Creationism can take center-stage. It is an insult to humanists, secular or spiritual, that an ideology of a totalitarian, narcissistic, blackmailing Supernatural Commander with a selfish expectation from all humans can be given so much publicity and fanfare.
Bill Nye should not have debated Ken Ham. I did not even bother to watch the debate, and as tempted as I am to watch it, I know that it should never have happened. Just by giving Ken Ham the stage, the message being sent is that his ideology should be taken seriously and that it is a serious obstacle to current theories on the origin of species and indeed to the origin of life. It makes Science and Scientists come across as being the ‘opposition’ to an apparently valid and debatable proposition. This stance has massive implications in education and our future. This entire debate of Evolution vs. Creationism is an oddity. It has made Truth the loser. It has made ignorance seem justified if it does not ‘make me feel good about me me and me’.
That is a shame. Although one debate is not going to make much of a difference, if this trend of putting Creationism as a serious contender continues, the foreseeable future might look very bleak for scientific inquiry. If more of the American population accepts Creationism, one True (Biblical) God and so forth, chances are that political candidates who hold these views will be brought into power. This is already a reality, but it will become even more commonplace. This means more ‘profit-driven’ Science and less ‘inquiry-driven’ Science. It means more control of what is researched by the religious and less by rationalists. It means more laws like preventing abortion even in cases of rape or medical emergency (many Evangelicals believe in this). Let’s think about the implications and voraciously start promoting Science and educating people about its benefits. Let’s tell them we’re actually just doing our job, we like doing, it’s important so stop stepping on our toes.