September 2nd, 2010
One of my old, fairly innocuous posts has been climbing up the popularity lists: The Importance of Science in Our Lives. It’s just a link to an article online with a little commentary. I see on my statistics pages that a lot of people arrive using google searches of “Importance of Science.” I wonder if this is a common school assignment for students, e.g., “Write about the importance of science in the modern world” or some other similar variation, and then off they go to google to get their answers rather than thinking for themselves. Maybe that’s too cynical. Anyway, I have been intending to follow up with some more specific and simply worded reasons that science is important to not just me (e.g., my income), but to our civilization today.
Science is important because…
1. …we don’t have to take someone’s word for something, we can test their claims.
2. …horrible diseases can be cured, or prevented entirely, and it can still provide hope for those with as-yet-incurable diseases.
3. …people who love each other can talk to each other whenever they want no matter how far apart they are in the world, and can be together the next day.
4. …science can show us what has caused mass extinctions and point the way to preventing similar catastrophes in the future.
5. …science can make us feel big and special for understanding the age of the Earth, the nature of stars, and the size of the universe, even if those things dwarf us.
6. …science saves lives.
7. …it has helped us to no longer need to worry about personal survival as our top priority, giving us more time for love, laughter, singing, and dancing.
8. …whenever one problem is solved another two rear up to take its place, so the need for science will never go obsolete.
9. …science gives us superpowers, like looking across the universe, seeing atoms, flying across the Earth or to the moon, moving mountains, and harnessing the energy of the sun.
10. …science, in the long run, is the only reliable way to figure things out in a world that is so seldom fair and impartial.
Well, those are ten of mine. I could elaborate or further justify each of these, but for now I will leave these here to ferment some more. There’s a darker version of this list that would talk about guns, nuclear bombs, and more, but I’ll pass on that for now. Violence isn’t nice, but it surely is important.
Why is science important to you?