Science is not a belief system. It is a process, a method. Just like democracy is a process, and markets are a process. (To the right, vaccine scientist Paul Offit.)
No one believes in what scientists say. Even scientists don't. They accept what scientists say, when it is experimentally valid, because it answers good questions, because it can be engineered into things of use.
Over the last decades the political right in this country has forged a dangerous alliance with idiots who reject science, who call it a "belief" system and thus subject to political process.
It's not. Science has nothing to do with politics. Sure, scientists engage in little political games with one another. Good science is held down by authority figures all the time. Good scientists have their work questioned constantly. But in the end, science goes with what works.
Journalists have gone in for this game, because it's an easy "he said, she said" story. This is an incredibly dangerous stance to take.
Whether we're talking about big questions like evolution (the question is how and what, not whether) or smaller questions like vaccines, anti-science zealots have had their way for a long time.
Now is the time for a new Silent Majority to stand up and make its voice heard. It's time to make your voice heard at your local school board, at the ballot box, and (just as important) in your own life.
- Get your kids vaccinated. If there were any validity to the nonsense spouted by anti-vaccine zealots there would be scientific studies leading to scientific discussion on the merits. There isn't.
- Teach your kids evolution. The conclusions of evolutionary scientists are always subject to change, but this is the most useful tool we have not only for explaining how God created this Earth but how we can fulfill our role as its guardians.
- Reject religion that rejects science. If youre preacher tells you the Bible rejects evolution or any other science, walk out. Stop giving your money to the enemies of your children.
- When you hear ignorance, speak up. Stop taking the nonsense of your neighbors as something you have to tolerate. Let them call you names if that makes them happy, but be firm. You don't "believe" in science but you accept the merits of experiment over those of argument.
This is an important political moment, because a big part of the Haties' position is a "suspicion" (it's more like contempt) for science, for scientists, for the scientific method.
It doesn't matter what political party you belong to. There are anti-science Democrats and there are pro-science Republicans. But when you stand up for science, when you stand up for the scientific method, you stand up for your children, and their right to make a better world than what you have enjoyed, as well as their power to re-make what you have destroyed.
If the right wants science to be the political divide, so be it.
Bury them with it.