I was first told about the end of the world five years ago. I shrugged off the “Mayan apocalypse” with the same indifference I hold towards tarot cards and astrology. People believe all sorts of things.
Fast forward to last December, and ABC’s front news page is dominated by an apocalypse countdown sidebar. The History Channel runs specials all day with “historians” extrapolating on the similarities between the Mayan predictions and Nostradamus. While it was easy to laugh about such extravagant claims, some people were taking it seriously.
The Mayan apocalypse portrays how ideas with no factual basis can perpetuate in a culture with an aversion to critical thought. While this example was rather innocent, the lack of rationality in America has dangerous implications. People who hold science in disregard are at the mercy of our media-saturated culture; they must rely on emotion and instinct instead of evidence to make choices, from what to eat for breakfast to what politicians to put in power. The effects of these decisions impact our planet and everything on it.
The solution is to quell this aversion — to make people excited about science and its process. Even in our educational institutions, which are so often looked to as leaders in progress, there is a significant divide between the humanities and science. The very essence of this divide reinforces our separation as scientists with the rest of our culture. It makes science seem inhuman and artificial, when in fact it is such a profound example of human creativity.
This blog is my attempt at reconciliation. I want to get people jazzed about science in all its glory. Also I want a place to post funny pictures of kittens. And a place for potential employers to read my writing.