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Science, technology, engineering and math, aka STEM, are key areas of knowledge for the 21st century. Heck, they were key in the 20th century, too! Remember JFK and the moon challenge as well as his tribute to science on the 100th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences?

Recent scientific advances have not only made international cooperation desirable, but they have made it essential. The ocean, the atmosphere, outer space, belong not to one nation or one ideology, but to all mankind, and as science carries out its tasks in the years ahead, it must enlist all its own disciplines, all nations prepared for the scientific quest, and all men capable of sympathizing with the scientific impulse. (emphasis added)

How do we create an environment where science (my shorthand) is valued, where “all men” have an appreciation for science? Where denialism is a thing of the past? Because in today’s America, not unlike yesterday’s (Scopes Trial, 1925), science is devalued by the mainstream U.S. population.

gallup on evolution

As Gallup shows, for 40 years, 2-in-5 Americans (or more) have believed God created man in our present form.
Less than 10,000 years ago.

 

pew on evolution

Pew Research data from 2006 mirror the longer-running Gallup data. Note the difference between Protestants and Catholics.

 

Two smart and entertaining guys started ASAP Science as one way to make science interesting and fun.

Who are they? Mitchell Moffit (@mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (@whalewatchmeplz).  Subscribe to their YouTube channel and get a heads-up each week when they post a new video.

This week, the two “came out” again — to their 2.6 million YouTube followers. Here’s why:

A scientific understanding of the world has always given us the power and autonomy to enjoy the beauty and secrets of life, which we believe should be available to everyone. So, whether it be trying to break gender stereotypes within our scripts, or including stick figure drawings with a range of sexualities, it was part of our mission to include subtle references to the diversity of human culture. Even with these elements remaining discrete in our videos, we were quick to see the harsh reality that a gay stick figure could make somebody just as mad or upset as a gay person in real life.

Now, we’ve always known the YouTube comment section to be a special breed of comments — one that only the bravest of souls dare navigate. But it was the persistence on a channel dedicated to science that really had us scratching our head.

Folks who believe explicitly in a mythical all-powerful being and willfully disregard scientific investigation into the origins of both humans and earth are likely to include the Venn diagram subset of Americans who think homosexuality is both a choice and evil. In other words, they probably disregard the science of sexual orientation as well. (I love the research study that correlated gay men with more fecund sisters, mothers and aunts.)

This behavior falls more in line with “ad hominem” logical fallacies than “shoot the messenger” although both are rejections of rational thought.

Here are a few of my favorite ASAP Science videos.

Have a look. Give them a thumbs up. Subscribe to their YouTube channel and help put pre-age-of-reason thinking where it belongs: in the distant past.

 

 

 

 
:: Cross-posted from WiredPen : Follow me on Twitter

graphic via shutterstock.com

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
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Copyright 2014 The Moderate Voice
  • SteveK

    Thank you Kathy, excellent observations.

    The lack of response to your post is exactly why I’m taking a ‘breather’ from blogging… When logic leaves the room there’s nothing left worth trying to talk to.

  • JSpencer

    Great post Kathy! So many forces conspiring (usually, but not always without nefarious intent) to keep people from opening their eyes and brains. What kind of society do we want to be? We have slipped a lot from the respect for science the culture had when I was a lad. Glad there are still people who are trying to raise the bar. It takes courage to debunk and talk frankly about misconceptions (including religious based dogma) which people are loathe to part with. Keep up the good work!

    Btw Steve, my own low frequency of responses at TMV lately is due to an overload of other obligations. I get here when I can. Keep the faith brother!

  • sheknows

    Thank you Kathy for this eye-opening article.
    It is disheartening to realize so many people are still unresponsive to logic and fact. On the one hand they can be brilliant in computer science for example ,and yet turn around and deny climate change is real or that the earth was created millions of years ago. ( thinking in particular of an old coworker’s son))
    I guess these blind spots explain why humans make terrible witnesses and don’t see or hear what they think they do.

    Scary and yet hilarious new show on Nat Geo called The Science of Stupid which shows examples of how people just do not think.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Thanks Kathy i will definitely follow the link…I think no matter to opposition; educate, educate, educate is the the only sane choice…. And to do that most effectively science needs to be presented based on the facts and the consequences of not acting…rather than playing i into the anti-scientific devisiveness based on religious ideology that only cause greater polarization…

    Have recently been taking several of the Coursera offerings…And will start one on Climate Change soon…Just finished one by Peter Singer on Simple Ethics where he spends a week on Climate Change and the ethical complexities based on science, globalization, power, poverty, and the overall tendency of lots of talk with little action…

    ( Coursera is an online free offering from many of the world’s best universities of top professors in their fields)

    Hope you don’t mind but am going to share the link to Coursea courses on Climate Change…

    https://www.coursera.org/courses?orderby=upcoming&search=Climate%20Change