×

Let’s hold one another to higher standards

To the Journal editor:

The COVID-19 and climate crises demonstrate that scientific literacy is critical to our nation’s well-being. According to Arizona State University science professor Thomas Martin:

“In the present cultural climate, altering one’s beliefs in response to anything (facts included) is considered a sign of weakness. Students must be convinced that changing one’s mind in light of the evidence is not weakness: Changing one’s mind is the essence of intellectual growth … The responsibility for fostering scientific literacy of this sort — that is, literacy construed as an ongoing commitment to evidence over preconception — falls upon all of us in our discussions both formal and informal, both public and private.”

Observing the bias and animosity common in political debate, the Irish philosopher John O’Donohue stated that we need more legislators, media, etc. who are not already loyal to one side or the other.

It has been said that to practice philosophy, and also science, is to follow the question wherever it leads. This was the important loyalty for O’Donohue, which he called “loyalty to the voyage of the question.”

Although the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made mistakes, science works, however imperfectly, to self-correct. Ideology functions only to defend its group.

Let’s hold ourselves and others to higher standards of truth-seeking.

References

Thomas Martin biography

https://isearch.asu.edu/profile/744548

Thomas Martin quote (Section on evidence blindness, par. 12; value in criticizing ideas section, par. 2)

https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2008/0103/p09s01-coop.html

John O’Donohue quote (His response to the 8th question)

https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/376/the-unseen-life-that-dreams-us

TERRY HANSEN

Hales Corners, Wisconsin

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)