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LETTER: In defense of science

Dear Editor,

With nothing more than mathematics and subjective records of grounded observations, scientists concluded the Earth was spherical.

Duh!

At present day, we take this simple fact for granted because it is obvious. We have to remember, there were no spaceships or high-flying airplanes to provide that visual of earthly clouds and curves we all know so well from pictures, videos and first hand encounters. We relied on smart researchers and scientists to challenge old ideas and solve new problems in real time.

That process has never stopped, and we have advanced our way of life on this planet based on that exact principle of knowledge. 

Many scientists experience initial resistance from the layman population before their findings are vindicated. Humans are stubborn creatures. But scientific method remains our best tool of earthly wisdom.

With each revelation, we face the complicated task of incorporating these new discoveries into our current practices. Occasionally, we try to refute information because we dislike the immediate implications, and that often delays urgent progress.

Today, the overwhelming majority of our scientific community holds the human race responsible for adversely influencing the climate and condition of our earth, and some people are still wedged in rejection of these findings. The issue has become extremely distorted with politics. 

At one point in time, the cigarette industry advertised tobacco products as healthy. Eventually, the scientific community stepped in and concluded the total opposite. You would think that information would have been the end of the debate, but no. 

People were dying of cancer right in front of us, and the process of legislation to reduce the impact of tobacco products was drawn out and demanding.

In the end, the research prevailed. Although you can still smoke under more limited conditions, the scientific evidence has been asserted. Smoking is bad!

Likewise, the effects of environmental pollution are as real as the afflictions they are known to cause. Whether we decide to value this information as pertinent to our survival remains open to the public. With social media creating such an open forum, it has never been an easier time to advocate. Conversely, it has never been a more confusing time to decipher the blurred line of credibility.

How do we find accurate information of which to formulate and support our philosophies? That information remains in the same places it has always been, such as the public library. Nothing will ever supersede the elucidation of a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

To put it bluntly, science is our best tool of insight toward a better future, and a political administration in denial of such things is extremely dangerous. 

In the end, the world could be a better place if we all subscribed to the sound logic of science. After all, the earth is still round!

John Pinder

Catskill, N.Y.