Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘The Greatest Challenge of All’ by Andy London

April 10, 2013 | Leave Comment

Today’s world is far from perfect. With the economy in distress and sea levels rising, there are copious challenges the U.S. faces as she continues to grow. Facing these problems all at once may seem like a gargantuan mountain to climb. We must take on each problem one at a time, starting with its roots.

The central problem is an emergence of anti-science beliefs in today’s culture. At their root, these anti-science beliefs can only damage our world. Science is based in fact and truth and today politicians are treating facts proven to be true time and again by science as if they are false.

Many of the quandaries the world faces must be solved scientifically. How can we solve these when science is being pushed aside like yesterday’s news? We face a catch-22. Although the U.S. faces many problems as we continue to develop, the central issue of a manifestation of anti-science attitudes is the greatest problem our generation faces.

The occurrence of anti-science attitudes is the biggest problem we face because it threatens to hold back our progress as a nation and hinder further resolutions to other troubles. I think antiscientific beliefs can be contributing factors to the numerous challenges being faced by my generation, including reaching Earth’s carrying capacity, running out of fossil fuels, and rising sea levels. This problem is like gravity, always there weighing us down but not always recognized. Thus, this problem must be solved first and foremost. Anti-science attitudes have been gaining momentum in political culture and do not appear to be slowing down. Like a boulder rolling down a hill, this attitude slowly began, but now it is at a point where it must be stopped before it starts careening out of control.

How did the U.S. get this way? The U.S. was a nation built on the principles of science by men who were science enthusiasts, such as Thomas Jefferson. It perhaps started after World War II when the government starting funding science. After becoming federally funded, scientists no longer needed to reach out to the public for money, thus creating the slow withdrawal of science from the public view (Otto). As a result anti-science beliefs were able to grow. Many bizarre and unreasonable beliefs have spawned from anti-science beliefs, such as global warming is a hoax, cell phones can cause cancer, and vaccines can cause autism (“Scientific.”)

Today, a main problem contributing to the continued growth of anti-science attitudes is treating scientific discussion as if it were political debate. With facts treated as opinions and political figures unaware of facts, anti-science beliefs have been beckoned into U.S. culture. According to Public Policy Polling, only 21 percent of Republican voters in Iowa believe in global warming and only 35 percent believe in evolution, two scientific theories that have been proven time and again (Krugman). This is just a sample of the damage anti-science attitudes are causing. Most of the time the damage caused is very difficult to fix, and it often pollutes the opinions of many people.

*As the years continue it is up to our generation to become more aware of our situation and embrace the problems so we can fix them, not deny them so future generations have to deal with them. We only have one Earth, so we must take care of it. Step one is becoming scientifically aware. If this does not happen soon the Earth will soon begin to decay into a wasteland that cannot support human life. With global climate change being ignored the problem will continue uncontrolled, thus resulting in many possible catastrophes. Also, if we allow those opposed to science to continue to control and remain in charge of the planet, the planet will soon reach, and most likely exceed its carrying capacity. An over populated Earth would not last very long, and with no possible place for humans to go we would face many more problems that will be much more difficult to solve. This is just another example of an uninhabitable planet created by these anti-science views.

I will personally address this challenge in numerous ways. First I plan on pursuing a career in science. In doing this I will be promoting science and helping continue the scientific progress that must be made. Although I do not know what I specifically want to do, I believe any scientific job will help resolve this problem. I alone may not make a huge impact, but I may influence someone who could. Also, I plan to become an active member of groups that promote science such as the Union of Concerned Scientists. I think in doing this I will help my cause greatly. Becoming a member of these pro-science organizations will help inform the public, thus creating a better educated group of people needed to fix other problems we face. Although I may not make a huge impact, every action helps, and I plan to devote my life to science.

If I do not make a difference, at least I will know I gave it my all to help make this planet a better place.

In conclusion, although the U.S. faces many problems as we continue to develop, the central issue of an emergence of anti-science attitudes must be solved. I have confidence we can fix this trouble and that in doing so, we can take monumental strides on the right track toward fixing of all the problems the U.S. faces.

The U.S. faces fiscal issues and questions surrounding the consumption of fossil fuels. Science must be used to solve these problems. If we let antiscience attitudes spread like weeds, they will soon run rampant and hinder further solutions to our problems. Anti-science attitudes must be swept aside in order to ensure the easiest road to a better tomorrow. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

I deem this quote to be incredibly true and relative to this issue. We must invest in science and not fictitious ideas made up by people with anti-science attitudes in order to ensure the brightest future. Although the task we face may seem taller than Mt. Everest, if we climb it one step at a time, eventually we will be able to overcome the largest of challenges.

Works cited

Krugman, Paul. “Republicans Against Science.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.
Otto, Shawn Lawrence. “Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy.” Scientific American Nov. 2012: n. pag. Print.
“Scientific Integrity: Let Science Do Its Job.” Union of Concerned Scientists. Union of Concerned Scientists, 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.

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