Sunday, July 12, 2009

Scientific Illiteracy Running Rampant...

It seems strange that barely 40 years after man walked on the moon, there are still people that believe the Earth is 5000 years old and flat, or that humans and dinosaurs existed together. The old predictions of the 1960's, with visions of George Jetson and Flying Cars, seem to have been forgotten. It has been replaced with a sort of stolid illiteracy for all things scientific, among large segments of the population. Why is this so? Politicians debate climate change as if it is some whim someone made up, while educated scientists have 30 years or more worth of data on record. The science sections in newspapers and the media have been reduced or totally eliminated, and science in the classroom is almost completely gone at the ages where it makes a difference on youth. America used to be the most advanced scientific nation on Earth. What has happened? Why hasn't the pace of advancement kept up? As we go into the the early years of the 21st century, it seems with the exception of military hardware, we have slipped back a few notches on the development scale. Technological development appears to have stagnated somewhere near the end of the last century. Anti-intellectualism is rampant. Please tell me I am wrong.

Is this a backlash of the old religion, against the new religion of science? Is it because our capitalist system reduces everything to the lowest, non-threatening denominator in order to make a quick buck, with everything else ignored or shunned? What if the old adage about the Soviet Union stifling creativity and innovation was true in reverse, and that unbridled Capitalism stifles scientific progression?

This could not be a good thing.

Those who truly understand science, real science, will be the ones who prevail in the future. Real science is not afraid to challenge long held beliefs or assumptions, and owes nothing to anybody. It is it's very nature that makes it unpopular in this country. If America is not willing to devote itself to scientific understanding, then it deserves what it gets.

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable, and therefore, not popular."

- Carl Jung