I’ve decided where I’m going to school for the next eight-ish years and it feels weird as hell.
The numbers, just for posterity:
Schools applied to on the AMCAS: 10
Secondaries submitted: 6 (+ 1 school that didn’t have a secondary)
Interview offers: 5, turned down 1
Rejections: 3 (2 after secondary, 1 after interview)
While I’m still somewhat apprehensive about doing a dual degree, I’m not at all apprehensive about Future School itself. I’m thrilled with my choice. The medical school has a strong public health focus and the school is one of the top ranked in microbiology research. The director and the rest of the administration have been nothing but incredibly nice. I’ve already made tentative rotation plans in a lab that studies the ecology and evolution of tuberculosis. The buildings that house most of the labs I’d be interested in are shiny and gorgeous and probably won’t have big spiders and dead roaches (that were presumably once alive) like my current lab building does.
A lot of my worry about doing an MD/PhD is the uncertainty and the leap of faith it takes to commit to a process where my goals are unclear. For the past couple of years, I was pretty sure that I wanted to do a basic science PhD in microbiology and specialize in infectious diseases, with the goal of getting a faculty position and spending about four days a week in the lab and one in the clinic. At this point, I’m no longer so sure. I think I might want my research to take into account both molecular biology and epidemiology (which is why I’m so excited for this lab rotation). I think I might want to consider primary care. I think I might want to take a “let’s see where I end up” approach instead of focusing on a faculty position goal. I’ve spent a very long time fretting about the possibility that somehow I successfully lied to myself and my professors and my interviewers about wanting to do an MD/PhD, but I’m convinced now that that’s not the case. I think it’s far more likely the case that the path that will make me happiest is not the path that might have made sophomore me happiest. My goal of advancing healthcare (after riding out the bad economy by staying in school forever) is still intact, even if the specifics aren’t, and that’s okay.
You were warned.
1. I start my last semester of undergrad tomorrow. It’s bittersweet, not so much because I will badly miss Home School when I (maybe? probably?) leave, but because it feels like the end of a lot of possibility. I have no idea where I’ll be in ten years – there is still so much possibility – but my impending graduation feels like a funeral for everything I didn’t, and will likely never, learn. As much as I’m looking forward to immersing myself in medicine and [thing I do my PhD in], I still find it weird that I will probably never become well-versed in French literature or chemistry or math or physics. Not that I particularly want to be, it’s just strange to think that the formative period of becoming specialized in something is really over.
2. Now that I’ve gotten my first MD/PhD program acceptance, it’s hard to believe that this is something I’ll actually be doing. I think, going into it, it was much easier to imagine that I’d do terribly on the MCAT or not get any interviews and have to take a year off to bulk up my application. I do still have moments where the idea of how much work it’ll be, academically and in the lab, sends me into a panic, but I’m spending more and more of my time not convinced that I’ve made a huge mistake.
3. The whole thing has gotten a little more interesting (for me, probably not for you) now that my self-doubt about the program itself has been shifted to the specifics. I had been planning all along to do a PhD in microbiology and specialize in infectious diseases, but I’ve begun hesitantly considering cancer biology and oncology, or epidemiology and something else entirely. Until now, I had been certain that my research future would be in some variety of molecular biology, but I don’t want to dismiss the possibility that it isn’t, because what if I like something else better? At this point, I truly have no idea what I’ll be doing, and will probably just gravitate towards whichever department has the best food at their seminars.
4. Enough about my glorious academic life. You should watch Indian Hospital – not a poorly-named hospital drama, but an Al Jazeera series about a hospital near Bangalore. It’s heartbreaking and inspiring, and it maybe made stoic me tear up a few times. If nothing else, it’ll make you feel less guilty about having to (literally) dust off Infections and Inequalities because you’ve had it checked out since June and haven’t fallen asleep on the bus with it since August.
5. Requisite “I’m sorry for making you read about me” consolation video:
Kind of puts that time I stood on a swivel chair into perspective.
Thank the Friendly Atheist for sparing you from another Things post (though I have been itching to inflict the full extent of my uninteresting life on all approximately 3 of you, so it may be forthcoming anyway). Here’s a post more befitting of this blog’s tl;dr tagline and such-a-late-response-to-everything-that-no-one-cares-anymore theme instead.
There is a problem with Islamophobia in atheism. We have Ayaan Hirsi Ali condemning “Muslim rage”, we have Sam Harris defending profiling, and we have Everybody Draw Muhammad Day (EDMD) – and quite likely a lot more that isn’t immediately coming to mind. I’m embarrassed by all of them, but I’m going to talk about the last one here.
The basic idea is that no one should receive death threats for drawing a picture that is offensive to a religious group. I agree with this sentiment and I think it’s safe to assume that – non-Muslims and Muslims alike – the vast majority of people agree. Regardless, ostensibly in support of free speech, atheists draw Muhammad.
In terms of pure practicality, this accomplishes nothing. The people who had the problematic response to the drawings in the first place are not going to be swayed by “but look, it’s a stick figure.” Nothing is going to change there, because the point is not and never has been the actual content of the drawing. The people doing EDMD know this, and then, when other Muslims take offense, no matter how calm the response, the subtext kicks in – aren’t Muslims crazy? It’s just a stick figure. With a smiley face! Crazy.
And that, to me, is what is so ugly about EDMD. Unless you identify as Muslim, you are probably not going to find any drawing of Muhammad offensive, least of all one that is – in any other context – totally innocuous. You haven’t been immersed in the necessary culture and faith for you to have developed anything other than a “whatever” response, and that is to be expected. It is profoundly insensitive, though, to take a response that is rooted in a certain culture and religion and history and present it out of context in order to paint a large and diverse group in a negative light.
The Friendly Atheist did an AMA on Reddit last week, and I (of very original throwaway account name fame) commented* asking him about EDMD:
My school’s Campus Atheists group held an EDMD event this past fall, and according to this badly written article in the school newspaper, it was not appreciated. They said it was “disappointing that people got so offended by just a drawing or a word” and actually, it is our event that Hemant refers to when he says that Muslim groups “flipped out” – though comments from members of the Muslim Students Association were polite and the group made a point of reminding members to react peacefully:
The Campus Atheists claimed, incredibly, that causing offense was not their goal and that they “strive to be inclusive and respectful of all people”. Do you strive to include and respect Jews by wearing yellow Stars of David, and then act disappointed when they’re offended by just a shape? Do you strive to be inclusive of the LGBT community by using gay slurs, and then act disappointed when they’re offended by just a word?
I understand that drawing analogies to symbols of the Holocaust or homophobia may not hold water for people who support EDMD. Hemant says “no one would be ‘celebrating’ EDMD if the reaction from Muslims wasn’t so over the top and ridiculous” – but does that really matter? If you wouldn’t do something deliberately insulting to any other group, regardless of their reaction and regardless of whether you could claim to be sending a “bigger message”, why do this? Recognizing that others will be offended by things you find meaningless is not just a matter of being considerate; developing a theory of mind, an understanding that your vantage point isn’t the only one, is a basic part of being human. You can say all you want that you have the right to criticize religion (how drawing Muhammad could ever be construed as “criticizing” religion, I don’t know), but you have to also accept that others have the equally valid right to be offended by things that don’t offend you.
For what it’s worth, not all of the internet atheists are for EDMD. Chris Stedman wrote a genuinely excellent post against the event (it’s worth reading the whole thing):
We secularists need to think long and hard about what lines we’re drawing — and who we’re boxing out in the process. We say we want “free speech;” now let’s recognize that with freedom comes responsibility and the need for respectful dialogue despite differences. In other words, as my mom might say: “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Chalk may wash away but the divides we build often don’t.
We accomplish nothing when we claim we want dialogue, but cry foul when our efforts to offend aren’t met with applause. In valuing the freedom to gratuitously insult over the people on the receiving end of the insult, atheists discredit themselves as a group capable of rational, adult discussion. If we want anyone to take us seriously, we can’t delude ourselves that we have the moral high ground when we seek to offend a group that will, all but very occasionally, respond tactfully and respectfully. Truly, even though we can, we shouldn’t.
* Where I said that I thought I understood the rationale of participating EDMD, I admit I was being a bit too accommodating – I’m incredibly non-confrontational in real life, and while I find it a lot easier to be opinionated and combative on the internet, I still often find it hard to carry on a real argument when I really do respect the other person.
I had been planning on keeping the blog silent until the whole what-am-I-doing-with-my-life ordeal is over,* but I can’t let this year go by without a single long-winded post on the election. So, here goes:
I’m voting for Obama.
I am, in fact, far better aligned with the Green Party. I’ve read over quite a bit of the party platform and I mostly** really, really liked what I saw. In a better world, I would be going to the polls on Tuesday and confidently voting for Jill Stein.
In this world, though, with our two-party system, I just can’t. The magic of the 2008 election, when we got the best of both worlds – Tina-Fey-as-Sarah-Palin videos and a smart, well-spoken, not-Bush in office – is gone, replaced with the bleak reality of a system where you sometimes find yourself unsure whether you’re voting against someone or for someone. I realize that by sticking to the major candidates, I am technically helping to perpetuate the problem, but sometimes you have to work within the system you have.
I would love to vote my conscience. I would love it even more if that action would have a fighting chance of counting for something, but it absolutely won’t. All it will do is give me a brief thrill and the right to feel absolved from any blame for whatever happens in the next four years, the ability to say “well, I didn’t vote for that.”
I think this demands an answer to the question of why (or if) conscience matters. My conscience tells me not to vote for someone who signed into law the NDAA or who wants anything to do with drones, even if he’s significantly better than his predecessor or his challenger. My conscience tells me to vote for someone who wants real reform and who has a drastically different – but drastically better – view of how the U.S. should look at home and abroad. It sounds…simple.
It isn’t. In general, we think of following our consciences as good: it will not only make us feel satisfied at having done the right thing, but it will increase the chances of an outcome we can be happy with, and this is often true. This is why things like the trolley problem make us squirm – they force us to confront a scenario where we have to choose between our conscience and a positive outcome, where what makes us deeply uncomfortable is in fact what brings about the greater good. They force us to recognize that we cannot fully rely on our consciences alone, that our consciences often are better deployed in the context of strategic, logical thinking.
Voting, especially at the national level, suffers from a lack of the immediacy that usually accompanies difficult decisions. No single voter can be responsible for an outcome – every vote counts, but there is only strength in numbers. I could vote for Romney on Tuesday and if he ended up winning, it would not be my fault. If I didn’t vote at all and the marriage amendment passed, it would not be my fault. When you factor in the collective nature of voting, it can be demoralizing to realize that you as an individual do not matter. I could write myself in for everything and draw pictures of cats on the ballot and not a thing would go differently than it would have if I’d carefully thought through all of my options. That’s just what happens when you’re one among millions.
I didn’t write all of that to come to the conclusion that my vote doesn’t matter. Literally, it doesn’t, but that’s a terrible way of looking at it (and, I would guess, leads a lot of people to total apathy). I could in good conscience go to the polls two (!) days from now and vote for Jill Stein, but I’m not sure I would feel that I’d made the right choice. I would have voted for the person whose platform I liked the best, yes, but I would have done so only because I was confident that enough others would vote for Obama. I’m not sure I could feel anything but guilty about doing that.
In the end, it seems that what should guide our actions is what we would reasonably like others to do. Ideally, I’d like everyone to do their best to be well-informed on all of the candidates and then truly vote their conscience, but that is not something at all reasonable to wish for. What is reasonable is to want people to take even a cursory glance at the two candidates who have a shot at winning and pick the guy who they think is more likely to leave the country a better place. Look at issues like healthcare and women’s and civil rights and education and the fact that the next president will likely replace at least one Supreme Court justice and make an easy choice.
* It will either be over in about three weeks, or really, really not over in about three weeks.
** But I feel like redirecting NIH funding away from proposals for animal research is a lesser grievance than, you know, killing people.
I clearly like Mother Jones too much. A look at what’s been collecting dust in my internet tabs:
1. “The Way It Was” - a discussion of what it was like to be a pregnant teen seeking an abortion pre- Roe v. Wade. Long, but well worth the read. While I do understand the anti-abortion position, you never hear any acknowledgement that it wasn’t exactly rainbows and bunnies pre- Roe v. Wade. This does the acknowledging.
2. “What Ever Became of George W. Bush?” - a quick read with a paragraph that’s pure gold.
3. “Norway Mass Killer Gets the Maximum: 21 Years” – we discussed Breivik’s case in my neuroethics class, examining the sane/insane issue and debating how the justice system should ideally deal with criminals deemed insane. This article brings up a different discussion – what should be done with a mass murderer? Breivik himself has called the 21-year sentence “pathetic”, but after my initial surprise that Norway’s maximum sentence is that short (by US standards), I’m actually entirely in favor of it. To be clear, I expect that his sentence will be extended – it’s hard to imagine him ever not being considered a threat – but I think the overall approach is optimistic and progressive. While there’s no doubt that Breivik is guilty, a forgiving system that requires periodic reassessment of inmates is obviously more humane than a system where innocent people can be and are sentenced to death.
4. “14 Wacky ‘Facts’ Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher System” - horrifying. I was annoyed when my (otherwise probably okay) 9th grade world history textbook presented bits of the Bible as fact, but at least there was nothing as bad as this:
“[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”
5. “A Letter to Mrs. Romney” - of course, I have a liberal bias, but the overwhelming sense I get when listening to the GOP is that they don’t know how people actually live (see #1). Excerpt:
What about the single woman who spends fully half of her paycheck on childcare? What about the woman who is struck with Cancer but ignores her medical needs in order to put food on the table for her family? What about the woman who forfeited higher education to raise a child and now has no skills to find a job? What about the woman who lives in a shelter with her children in order to escape an abusive partner or as a result of an eviction?
6. Not a link, but in line with the prevailing pessimism of this post:
Yeah, being anti-war is so weak. Charming.
7. Here, have some Simon & Garfunkel as a reminder that through all the ugliness, there’s still some good out there:
Too bad we’ll only remember his trip to the moon and not his debut album.*
* Too soon?
From the European Commission comes this brilliant campaign* to encourage girls to pursue science careers:
When I first saw this, I was more amused than horrified. I totally went into science so that I could parade around in heels and giggle while a glasses model squints at me and wonders what the hell I’m doing disturbing his microscope time. I think, on some level, we all did.
On Facebook, I wrote that it’s
trying to encourage girls to do science by playing up stereotypes in a bizarrely unrelated way….I’m not sure there’s even anyone who fits the stereotype who’d find it appealing/convincing, and everyone else is going to either find it hilarious or offensive.
According to a dad’s comment on a Friendly Atheist post, though, I was wrong at least in one case:
Violet, 8, has no interest in math and science at all. If it isn’t princesses, dancing, dressing up and makeovers it is not on her interest horizon.
When I watched [that video] I could not believe what and awful, stupid, disgusting, condescending piece of crap it was. I played it again in an act of morbid fascination. Violet walked by and saw it. She liked it. It is the only thing that has ever managed to generate any interest in science in her and she has continued to show tentative interest in science since.
Having grown up in a relatively gender-blind environment, I find this hard to fathom. I have never wanted to be a princess or enjoyed dancing, dressing up, or makeovers. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of that, I suppose, there is a sort of anti-intellectualism often attributed to and accepted by young girls. Companies would not make “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” shirts unless they thought they would sell. From a young age, high praise for little girls is that “she’s a heartbreaker.” They play with kitchen sets and Barbies, toys that encourage very little creativity and imagination. There is a general sense that appearances should be central to a girl’s identity – perhaps to one day land the Justin Bieber of their dreams. ”Glamorous” careers like acting and singing and modeling are all too often presented as the pinnacle of success.
Given that, I don’t think the fundamental problem is that girls are disinterested in science. If you’re bombarded with the message that your value lies in being attractive and that you’re above hard work and academics, it’s understandable that excelling in math and science would not top, or even make, your list of priorities. Pairing stereotypically girly themes with science may attract girls’ attention momentarily, but once science is exposed for what it really is, will they be left with any genuine interest? This is why I didn’t particularly like the Cheerleading for Science video in the Friendly Atheist post, either. There’s an underlying message that science as a career is unexciting, and that girls need to be conned into liking it. Science is not glamorous, but it is fulfilling – and it’s disappointing that that aspect is ignored entirely.
I became interested in science not because someone showed me how it related to my existing interests, but because I realized a future in science would be so much more interesting than a future in art or design or filmmaking and I recognized its potential to be a career that would allow me to leave the world a better place. The topics I’d come to love reading about – epidemics and disorders and microbes – could become my career. My interest was genuine. Someone seeing “Science: It’s a Girl Thing” may suddenly declare science to be on par with makeovers, but unless they truly like science for the right reasons, off to a job at NASA they ain’t.
In fact, I think the question of how should we get girls interested in science? isn’t the question we should be, or need to be, asking. Science is not inherently boring to girls – there is nothing wrong with science. It is what it is, and it doesn’t need to be dressed up in makeup and sunglasses. The problem lies with the culture surrounding being a young female. If girls are raised in such a way that they aren’t taught that to be intellectual is to be undesirable or weird, and instead are encouraged to pursue their own interests without the shadow of masculine/feminine stereotypes clouding their choices, I have no doubt that more girls will pursue science for the right reason – because they love it.
* The campaign itself, called, of course, “Science: It’s a Girl Thing” (how do you type a lipstick; apparently this is a thing I need to know) isn’t terribly impressive, but it doesn’t look too bad. I took its career quiz and it told me I should be an immunologist. Not bad for a site that has decided that “science” is spelled with a lipstick.
1. In just a couple of days I find out whether my 3-week MCAT schedule worked. I’m trying to stay as pessimistic as possible (this is never a problem for me) so I can hopefully be pleasantly surprised, even if it’s not a good enough score to apply this cycle. As much as I want to start med school and become a doctor doctor as soon as possible, taking a year off won’t be the end of the world. Current backup plan: spend a year in a bacteria or eukaryotic lab so I can at least feign microbiological well-roundedness when I do apply. If I end up delaying a year, I’ll also be able to delay suit shopping for longer, which is going to be my real consolation.
2. Read this great post from Zach: “Why I’m Gay”, or “Inspections of the Fractured Identity”. I really love a good rant.
3. In not-at-all surprising news, the Texas GOP is homophobic and anti-education. The homophobia isn’t anything groundbreaking, but their points on education are really enlightened. From their party platform (PDF):
We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.
Yes, talking about minority groups is divisive, because it alerts kids to the fact that there are people who aren’t white males living in the same country they are. I know, I was surprised to learn that too, but I turned out alright. And making an effort not to alienate racial and ethnic groups…alienates them. Okay.
Proposal: based on this, the “melting pot” analogy is now obsolete. To better reflect our monocultural nation, I suggest transitioning to a “pink slime” analogy. Since the GOP hates handouts, I expect royalties every time this is used.
We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
The best course I ever took was based entirely on critically examining research papers; the content of the course, while interesting, was secondary to the skills we learned. Critical thinking means questioning, though, and that is understandably not in line with the GOP’s plans – that would lead right into challenging fixed beliefs. There’s just so much wrong with this that I have trouble articulating it, but there you have it: fixed beliefs trump actual knowledge and parental authority overrides facts. I imagine grading exams is pretty easy with this mindset – nothing is wrong as long as you believe in it hard enough!
4. In happier news, healthcare! Unlike these geniuses, I wanted to move to Canada before the Affordable Care Act.
She tells of a friend asking her where, in her worldview, moral law comes from:
“I don’t know,” I said. ”I’ve got bupkis.”
“Your best guess.”
“I haven’t got one.”
“You must have some idea.”
“I don’t know. I’ve got nothing. I guess Morality just loves me or something.”
“Ok, ok, yes, I heard what I just said. Give me a second and let me decide if I believe it.”
It turns out I did.
I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth.
I started writing this as a critique of her reasoning, because I think it’s very, very weak. Since I’m a slow writer, though, it’s been several days and many others have beat me to it: here (read this one if you only read one) and here and here.
Instead, here’s a slew of (maybe obvious) reasons why I won’t be going the route of Leah:*
- Science. I don’t subscribe to the idea of non-overlapping magisteria. Our understanding and experience of the world is based 100% in the material, and the immaterial – our thoughts and values and abstract ideas – is always, always still fundamentally based in the material. Even if “material” means neurotransmitters. Religion’s dependence on the truly immaterial is suspicious; if I can’t at the very least expect to find it in a particle accelerator in Switzerland, I have to be skeptical that something exists at all.
- Logic. For there to have been an immaterial creator (already not making much sense), he would have had to have dreamed up the idea of matter before matter existed. Stop and think for a moment how mind-bogglingly impossible that is. Even worse, that matter would have then come from nothing – it would have been thought into existence by a brain that doesn’t itself exist. Remember this the next time you see someone internet-shrieking “But something can’t come from NOTHING!!!1!!”
- Miracles. As someone who spends hours every day in a lab, the idea of miracles bothers me immensely. If a virgin can give birth, if someone can die and come back to life days later, if someone can be healed by a wave of the hand, then we cannot reasonably expect the natural world to follow predictable laws.
- Biology. Was Jesus haploid? If not, what does God’s genome look like? How does God have a genome if he’s not a material being? Did Adam and Eve have really long telomeres or none at all? Once Eve ate the fruit, how did everything from cells to entire organisms suddenly change to accomodate death?
- Original sin. How was original sin passed on? It must have been through epigenetics or socialization. If it’s the former, cooool. Suppression of what made us sinless or activation of what made us sinful? Did God build in genes to increase our propensity for sin just in case? On a larger scale, the idea is simply reprehensible to me. This would be like you stealing a stick of gum and then, whoops. Your descendants have to suffer through war and famine and disease and large moths that accidentally get into the house. Because you stole a stick of gum.
- Love. I find it impossible to imagine someone who loves you infinitely who would let anything bad happen to you. Seriously. Yes, free will** and all that, but if I had the capacity to ensure a happy, healthy, safe existence for someone I loved, I would be a monster not to do it (even if one of their ancestors stole a stick of gum).
- Reason. Religion is not necessarily opposed to reason. But given the choice between blindly following a religion even when you disagree intellectually and trusting your own reason – which could lead you to draw
differentwrong conclusions – the former is preferred every single time.
- Priorities. Living in your nice suburban home with your middle-class comforts, you can count it as a prayer answered when your lost cat is found. What about the people for whom basic things like clean water would be a prayer answered? Is God really more worried about your cat than other people’s guinea worm and cholera?
This is hardly a comprehensive list. There’s the issue of results – if a particular religion is true, shouldn’t its members overall be better members of society? There’s the issue of specific social policies – gay parents are worse than no parents, a woman is worth less than her fetus, AIDS is better than condoms. There’s the issue of morality, which is so huge that I barely touched on it here. This isn’t a post to try to convert anyone, but to point out what I find to be some pretty major logical obstacles to religious belief. If you actually read all of that, here’s your relevant Mitchell and Webb sketch. You deserve it.
* Disclaimer: this is why I am not religious; others will, of course, have had different reasoning and come to different conclusions. I’m certainly not writing this in judgment of those who are religious; if you’re reading this right now, I probably think you’re a pretty fantastic person, I promise.
** Free will might be a discussion for another time once I’ve figured things out…
[Edited slightly for clarity.]
It’s not every day you get the privilege of seeing such gloriously depressing statistics:
Most Americans are not scientists, of course, and cannot be expected to understand all of the latest evidence and competing viewpoints on the development of the human species. Still, it would be hard to dispute that most scientists who study humans agree that the species evolved over millions of years, and that relatively few scientists believe that humans began in their current form only 10,000 years ago without the benefit of evolution. Thus, almost half of Americans today hold a belief, at least as measured by this question wording, that is at odds with the preponderance of the scientific literature.
In a way, I’m grateful for the confused 32% bridging the gap. They’re still wrong, of course, but they’re much less wrong than the not-at-all-confused 46% who know that evolution is a dirty lie. If they can serve as an example of how faith and science don’t need to be mutually exclusive, then that’s a good start to getting more people to question religious dogma.
Then, maybe, we’ll have fewer stories like this and this. With creationism trickling – or pouring – back into schools, here and abroad, we need to worry about the balance shifting away from evolution. If kids aren’t being taught the scientific consensus in school and they’re not hearing it at home (and it looks like a significant percentage probably aren’t), and instead are being lied to directly or by omission, then we’re fighting a losing battle. While ideally, we would focus on growing that pathetic 15%, if people can first stop viewing science as a threat to their beliefs and start seeing it as compatible, they’ll be more likely to accept it fully in the long run.