Is Science Important?

We all understand that our World has been made much better through the advances in science over the past 500+ years. Humans used to believe that the Earth was the center of the Universe and the Sun revolved around it. They also used to believe that the disease came from evil spirits. We now know these things to be untrue, but at one time these were all accepted facts. In each case, one or more Scientists developed theories (Gravity, Germ Theory, etc.) that form some of the most basic underpinnings of science and we now accept as fact.

But two of the most important theories of science today are denied by the Republican Party. These are the theory of Evolution, and the theory of Human induced Climate Change. the evidence for both of these theories is overwhelming in its weight. You can’t begin to explain biology without evoking Evolution – which is a fundamental to Biology as Gravity is to Physics. And you can’t explain any of the changes that we are all experiencing in our daily world (winter without snow, drought, increasingly violent storms, etc.) without Climate Change. Republicans say that the science is “unproven” – which is technically true of virtually every theory, including the theory of Gravity (You explain how the sun exerts a gravitational pull on the Earth across 93 million miles – because nobody ever has). No theory has been “proven” beyond any doubt, but when a theory predicts, with a VERY high degree of confidence, a certain set of results, it becomes adopted as the basis for policy decisions by those in charge. Until now, the US has been a leader in adopting science-based policies, which has been one of many factors that has driven our success over the past two hundred years.

Someone recently offered a simple analogy. If your child was sick, and you took her to 100 doctors, and 98% of them diagnosed the same disease, and gave the same prescription for recovery, would you listen to the opinion of the 98% or the 2% who (loudly) gave a different diagnosis and proposed a different (or no) treatment). With Climate Change, the science is about 98% to 2% today. With Evolution, the science is about 99.5% to 0.5%. Yet Donald Trump thinks is a hoax, and many Republicans in Congress agree. The National Republican’s Platform doesn’t say anything explicit about Evolution, but the Republican Texas Party [http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/06/28/the-texas-republican-party-platform/] wants to teach Creationism (Religion) as an alternate to science.

History tells us what happens to nations that deny the evidence of Science and make decisions based on dogma. For forty years, the Soviet Union espoused the theory of Lysenkoism [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism] rather than the theory of genetics (which was not consistent with communist dogma) as the underpinning to its agricultural seed production policies. The results – millions of Soviet citizens starved to death, and the Soviet Union today has ceased to exist.

Now that Republicans have gained control, they are making decisions based on dogma rather than science. In a world dominated by science, where our Nation’s (and the world’s) success is based on maximizing the possibilities that science offers, how can they lead this county forward if the deny basic science?

Science creates our technology and also our weapons. When we deny science, we deny the very thing that keeps our nation strong. Our future is at stake.

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