See, I really wanted to like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, but after just watching an episode for my astronomy class, and hearing the tone and language he uses to dismiss astrology and how pretentiously he refers to scientific history… it was infuriating.
“[Kepler] preferred the hard truth to his dearest delusions”
What I love about modern anthropology and the teachers I have had, is they put so much emphasis on human variation. How variation is fundamental in our survival, and how we should respect each other’s perspectives. And I’m grateful that anthropology heavily influences my lens when studying the other sciences. I feel that I am better at seeing the whole picture form varying perspectives, rather than shitting on people who see the world differently. My professors have put emphasis on the idea that science is always ready to be proved wrong with a better, stronger theory. That we don’t, and won’t, ever know everything. That there is always room for another idea.
At one point in this episode Sagan literally says “it’s possible to figure things out. We can do science. And with it we can improve our lives” right after talking about how if the planets dictate our lives, then “explain twins! and I nearly turned the damn thing off. For one thing, he literally only referenced pop culture astrology, and for another thing he did that crummy manipulation-of-information thing that people do, where they are like “So and so from this movement can’t even agree” which is just so shitty. Like, I’m not out here distrusting all Christians just because some crazy loud ones say I deserve to die because I like a girl in a *gasp* non-platonic way.
The script was so loaded with arrogance that it surprisingly helped me understand the ongoing stereotype of Science Bros who laugh at people who put energy into religion. If this is the kind of media that they grew up consuming, OF course they think they are better than everyone else because they can do hard math problems and quote old white guys. No wonder there are such aggressive conversations about science and faith. They have been fed this idea of “us vs. them” for so long and never thought to fight against it because *ScIeNcE* is meant to be set in stone and completely accurate.
Science Bros think that they are honoring their fallen heroes who were ostracized for speaking against the church.
But that was in a time when we didn’t have the luxury of mass communication. It was in a time when education wasn’t easily accessible by the average Joe. And I think that there is this idea that because more of us can access education now, that everyone will take the time to learn everything. But there are enormous amounts of people who just aren’t interested for one reason or another. And that’s OK. What has made us strong and successful as humans is our ability to teach and share information. Seriously. We can teach each other ways to accomplish goals, and we can record that and build upon that knowledge.
And we need to keep that in mind as we go about our lives. No one person can fight every issue. No one person can learn every perspective. But if we build a foundation in our society out of compassion and put more emphasis on community, the knowledge we gain is more likely to be heard and welcomed. No one loves to learn if they are forced into it. Learning must come from willfulness. Shoving perspectives down people’s throats will only create more resistance.
I’m not an incredibly spiritual person. I don’t have a god or an energy that I put time into. And I’ve barely scratched the surface in academia. But I am not arrogant to assume I will know everything about how the universe works, and I urge every science thinking mind to leave room in your imagination to be wrong. The only reason science is where it is today is because great
(wealthy) minds risked sounding crazy and experimented with how they saw the world. Many of the people that hold to great esteem turned out to be very wrong. And many of their discoveries led to incredible amounts of damage (I see you racism). Science is not perfect (lol Ptolemy), and it does not make you “better” than someone who doesn’t keep up with it. It simply means that you see the world a different way.
Everyone is right in their own minds. It’s important that we don’t let those perceived notions cause harm to our neighbors and loved ones. It is important that we maintain some level of compassion.
File this post under “posts I didn’t proofread because it was midnight”
With all this being said, I do want to clarify, you can think someone is nuts and still respect them. Flat Earther’s that were spoken to in this interview done by Buzzfeed said that they couldn’t think of what our purpose on Earth would be if it were round. If it was flat, then that means that we were placed here, and that means someone is looking out for us. For them, a Flat Earth is a source of faith, and it helps them navigate the difficult world that we live in. I can respect that. I disagree, but I also don’t need to tell every single Flat Earther that they are wrong and stupid, because that is not compassionate and it really doesn’t solve anything. Human’s generally like having a purpose. We aren’t good at being lazy, not really.
And to use a more touchy example, I don’t hate people who are homophobic. I’m a bisexual, And while I am scared of people who give a shit about someone else’s love life, I do not hate them. And I do not need them to like me or accept me or even agree with me. They can think that it’s unnatural, they can refuse to give me a wedding cake, they can think I’m going to hell. That’s fine, that’s within their perspective. In my opinion, I don’t really care if a business turns me away cause I’m gay. If they want to lose business because of who I am sleeping with, then that’s their money lost.
However the GOVERNMENT should not be allowed to do that.
For me, the issue comes from when people hurt others simply because they are different. When you actively seek out and hurt people just because they live differently than you and you are scared, you are awful and I hate you. You don’t want me in your private domain? We have no issue. You want to control people and play with their lives? We have some big issues.
I’m gonna go sleep now.