Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Future is Scary. The Future is Now.

I constantly tell people who aren't necessarily "into" science just how cool the world is at this point in history. I talk about how close we are to things which we were calling fiction just a couple decades back, and ask how awesome some of what we take for granted would be if people from the last century were to see it.

Microwave ovens. Cell phones. Computers. The Internet. Organ transplants. Nuclear power. Cruise missiles. Space rockets! I could go on and on.

I am thrilled with the prospect of seeing where our future takes us.

At the same time, I am terrified of what certain people with loud voices are doing to our nation's culture.

When a state rules that science isn't science, just to appease some vocal fundamentalists, we're in trouble. Here's a nice essay about it, written by someone who is much nicer and smarter than I. We are in trouble, folks. Our shaky science education is only getting weaker with these sorts of decisions.

What's scarier to me is that people who aren't scientifically minded don't see a problem with this decision. They don't think it violates the church/state separation (which many of "us" think it does, as ID is just creationism with a search-replace applied), and they don't think it weakens science. They certainly don't feel it's dangerous, or that it's going to make our nation weaker in the future.

The fact is that it cripples science. We already were doing a half-ass job at telling kids what science really was. We need to overhaul the entire system of teaching kids about science, so they understand the scientific method much earlier in life. What I learned in "History of Science" at WPI should have been taught to me during my freshman year of high school.
An introduction to the methods and source material historians use to study science. Topics covered will range from early Greek science to Newton and the Scientific Revolution in the 17th-century. Suggested background: elementary knowledge of science.
And not just to me, but to all the people who never went further than high school. The people who are currently voting to put anti-science candidates on school boards everywhere.

No comments: