It seems very strange to me, that in a world where technology is advancing exponentially, we directly experience the effects of climate change, and we have even explored the terrain of the planet Mars, that we would all be here today defending science and its integral role in the evolution of our existence as animal, vegetable, and mineral, but alas, here we are.
Science has had a very long battle with the church and politics as we all know. History shows us a burned and bloody trail of those who made significant scientific discoveries that are now fundamental scientific facts. It was mythos that was lauded while the truth was suppressed.
I do not believe that our human mythos, the various stories of religious culture, and our acts of faith are the same. Instead I see the stark reality that religion and politics are intertwined in a profit-driven dance of miseducation and misinformation to prevent us from achieving self-sufficiency. We are experiencing this right now with Climate Change. The powers that be still deny climate change is real even when Pope Francis, has said this:
The problem is urgent. “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years.” We must all change our day-to-day actions to live more sustainably. “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility.” On a larger scale, our leaders must be held to account. “Those who will have to suffer the consequences . . . will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility.”
I believe that people of faith and people of Science can work together to empower personal responsibility, reason and doubt can work together to empower self-sufficiency, hope and realistic expectation work together to empower data and embolden us to be unafraid of results; research and tenacity can tirelessly work together to create legacies of learning. When Science is handed down from researcher to successor all data is reevaluated, examined, and new hypotheses are formed.
Listen to Reason.
People of faith, let’s take a lesson from the scientific method and open our minds to the possibility of a new way of seeing and thinking in the world that lends itself to the advancement of humanity as opposed to the devolution of humanity. People of science, we must hold our work as sacred, as a key that unlocks our next evolutionary leap.
There is a place for all of us, those that seek something bigger, that desire to seek deeper answers in ideologies and those that have no desire for ideological beliefs at all. People of faith, please listen to me carefully when I say, there is no salvation like you think there is. The earth is not flat. We must imbue ourselves with our faith beyond dogma and accept the proven data to save our planet and those affected by poverty, famine, disease, climate change, deforestation and war. The Earth is calling out to us, groaning in pain. If your religious practice precludes you from hearing and seeing the struggle, I strongly urge you to look within, explore your doubt, and start again. Do not be afraid of education. Do not be afraid of the separation of church and state. Let us all allow science educators to provide facts without religious biases, so that we may continue to grow by asking more questions, finding more answers and evolving exponentially.
When we seek to understand, educate ourselves and one another, we begin to be a part of the beautiful fluidity that is the benchmark of the 21st century; this fluidity is being challenged by racial uprising, genocide, and religious divides in a global flare up meant to distract us from reality.
Why we March.
There is an all-out subversive war on scientific, religious, and social literacy and equality. This is why we are here. This is why we march.
I believe that science and faith have a unique way of intersecting only if we have the courage to allow ourselves to ask questions and allow doubt to propel us forward into a new paradigm of understanding. With what we know about the world around us, we can no longer say that there is one true God or that the Bible is literal truth. Scientific research has already disproven every notion of this being fact.
But we can still believe that there is something bigger than us, be inspired by religious practices, and use that inspiration to work for common good within health sciences, climate science, mathematics, chemistry, astrophysics and all other forms of science that empower us to adhere to the data provided. Our faith in a force bigger than us, in a God or a religious practice must be strong enough to accept real answers about systems and processes beyond sun gods and ecological punishments.
21st Century Rules.
To my fellow scientists, I encourage you to empower those around you to access the 21st century paradigm that does not have space for intolerance through miseducation, literalizing dogma, and ignorance toward issues such as climate change, depletion of resources and a lack of scientific education and funding for research. While the battle may be uphill, there are those of us who do listen. Do not give up. We need teachers, doctors, and those with enough courage to speak out on behalf of our future generations.
No matter our beliefs, each of us here today are united by our humanity and purpose: to make science inclusive and accessible to all people. May we all have the honesty, courage, and understanding to make science an inclusive practice for the advancement of our human potential.
[This was a speech given at the Knoxville March for Science on April 22, 2017. Get up! Get Down! Knoxville is a Science town!]