For those of you who don’t know, I live in the United States. In this country our President believes climate change is a Hoax, celebrities believe and teach the world is flat, and more conspiracy theories are popping up every day; Science literacy is becoming one of the biggest issue we’ll face as a country. Some might be frighten by the term but it doesn’t have to be something that inspires fear in us, in fact becoming science literate can be very empowering. What being scientifically literate means that we look at things around us with healthy skepticism and learn to question things in a way that discovers the truth. We do this easy enough as children when we start jumping on the bed after being told not to, we question “Well why shouldn’t I jump? It’s fun after all!” eventually we lose our footing, jump too far, go too high, and we propel ourselves off the bed onto the much less inviting floor or piece of furniture and sustain an injury. By going through this process we find that yes jumping on the bed is indeed fun but there can be serious consequences, like gaining a new bruise or scrape so our future jump sessions (if we continue to pursue them for fun’s sake) are done more cautiously to minimize chance of injury. This process is how we learn and more and more people are willing to read memes, or click-bait articles (I’m guilty of this), and national-inquire-like webpages and take it as the gospel without ever questioning it. How ridiculous that we could so easily allow ourselves to align our thought with something that didn’t have substantial proof to back it up. My favorite Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains it best in this short video:
Our education system stifles curiosity by teaching to test, we allow profit-driven companies to push their “standardized testing” down our children’s throats while their creativity and curiosity are suppressed. A company in business will always be in business for the main purpose of creating a profit, if they make money each time parents have to pay for their child to take the test what will the company want to do? Think of all the great minds being silenced or hushed because our teachers our overburden by the pressure of producing good test-takers instead of cultivating a healthy curiosity. In a country where we have “alternate Facts” I think our populace really needs to look in the mirror and ask, do we really want to become like the film Idiocracy? Luckily there are many pioneers that are working tirelessly to combat this emerging anti-intellectual disease (AKA the real zombie apocalypse), check out this Kickstarter to help cultivate curiosity and teach using video games led by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Big Red Button Entertainment, and more!
It’s worth noting that I’m in no way involved with this project and will not profit from its success, I simply think it’s a great project and a potential solution or aid to making America smart again. If you’re reading this I’d highly encourage you check it out yourself and if you think it’s a good idea share it. Getting back to the issue at hand, Science is a tool for discovering truth so when people say things like “we didn’t go to the moon”, “GMOs are bad”, “Vaccines cause autism” and more and more people would rather believe that than take the necessary time to learn the reasons why those things are not true, we have a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on the GMO side before but I’ve since looked at the science myself and now I’m not against GMOs, I’m more concerned now about the morality of what some of the companies do with the technology (which IS the conversation we should have), but the ability to Genetically modify crops is an astounding innovation that without it, the world would be facing some serious hunger pains, vitamin deficiencies, and much more. So whether you decide to start reading more, watching more educational shows, or even taking up a free science class, the more we can do to educate ourselves (and eventually others) the better off we’ll be as a society because we will be empowered with a mind trained to discover truth and lies.
featured image from: http://lvsct.org/