Tuesday, 4 July 2017

We Need To Talk. A short Personal Note.

I'm currently beavering away on more Morgue content which I hope to have posted either Wednesday or Thursday night. In the meantime, I wanted to discuss some events which happened last week surrounding my blog post entitled "The Politicization of Science..." As you'll know if you read the post, in it I discussed a 2012 study which was manipulated and misrepresented as support for some rather nasty ideas about women's right to sexual freedom. I originally came across the article I critiqued in the post, on a large Facebook group which I've been posting on for many years. Over this time I felt I'd built a good rapport with the other members of the group and the admins. So much so, that I was happy to be made an admin of the group myself. The article had caused a lot of upset and controversy in the group. When I came across it I thought it was so dishonest, I couldn't properly address it in a short form posting. I felt it warranted a long form post. I set about doing this knowing that it would it somewhat divisive.

What I didn't expect is for the post to be taken down literally within seconds of me posting it. I was messaged by a fellow admin stating that the topic was too controversial and should not be broached on the group again. I strongly disagreed with this decision. Especially when it became clear that this person had not even checked the content of the post. It was simply Verboten in her eyes.
(A few members of the group messaged their support as did two of the admins after the incident, I've still a great deal of respect for the group and there's no hard feelings or animosity. Part of the reason I don't name the group.)

Unfortunately, this event led to me leaving the group. I don't want to be part of any group where the address of "controversial" topics is forbidden. Actually, it's deeper than that... I can't be part of such a group. Especially when these topics concern the wilful misrepresentation of legitimate scientific studies to support backwards and dangerous ideas. Without scrutiny, these ideas don't melt away, they don't recede.

They grow. They fester.

We are at a dangerous point in our development as a species. Our science has outstripped the public's understanding of it. Scientists have failed in attempts to bring the public along with new developments. The mechanics of science, the scientific process is badly misunderstood by the general public who are much more familiar with dogma and the concept that to change one's position based on new information is a sign of weakness. Many laymen see science's greatest strength, it's ability to change, as weakness. We need more science communication. Honest communication. We can't leave the communication of science in the hands of those who view it as a tool in the promotion of partisan politics.

It doesn't matter whether that manipulation emerges from the right, as in the case I mention above or the left.

Likewise, we must be ever vigilant that we dismiss ideas because of their content, not their origin. It's become all too common to see groups close ranks when criticism of closely held ideas arise. Tribalism is rampant. Rejection of contrary ideas to our own all too often occurs because of the discomfort they cause. Commenters are dismissed because of the tone they take, their gender, sexual preference and ethnic origin. We surround ourselves with those of similar views to our own, blissfully unaware we are building echo chambers.

So, what does all this mean for me? Well, I've lost perhaps my biggest platform. Consistently the most likes, comments and shares my posts receive come from that group. You can massively help me here. For the first time, I'm going to solicit for likes, comments and shares on future posts. I'm going to encourage you to subscribe to the blog by clicking follow on my profile.

Your support is. as it always has been, greatly appreciated