Some consider it miraculous, some fear it and still others wish it never existed.
The “it” is science that can create awesome wonders and produce fearful results.
Thanks to science, our lifespan is longer, crippling pain has been reduced and we are better protected against deadly diseases. On the other hand, science has created the possibility of Armageddon through its discovery of the atom and the development of weapons of destruction.
When we put aside the pros and cons of science, we learn being a scientist sometimes isn’t as glamorous as it looks. One of its dark sides is the validity of its findings not always being accepted.
This is especially true regarding the role that air pollution plays in climate change. Are scientists exaggerating its damaging effects, or are they correct about the need for immediate action to correct impending danger?
Throughout the centuries, scientists have frequently come under fire. Galileo is a prime example of a man condemned for his findings — findings centuries later admitted to be right. President James Garfield didn’t die from his assassin’s bullet, but due to infection resulting from doctors’ skepticism of antiseptics. President Garfield’s statue in front of the U.S. Capitol is testimony to the harm of being foolishly skeptical of scientific discovery.
Why is there resistance to science when evidence seems to back it up? One reason is because it calls for changes some consider inconvenient. It may require lifestyle changes or costs that some feel are unnecessary.
While conducting sociological studies, my colleagues and I were criticized for the “disruptions” our findings were causing. To discredit us, they stated: “Your unsettling findings create self-fulfilling prophecies.” We had identified changes needed to ensure the future welfare of the priesthood and, in return, we received backlash.
It was perhaps Shakespeare who said, “Knowledge maketh a bloody entrance.” We might add that blood is at the heart of life and without it there is death, the very death scientists are trying to prevent with climate change.
No doubt arguments around climate change will continue, and the cries of the crowd will get louder. Backlash, skepticism and thoughtless prejudice will clash with outcries of disbelief over the blindness of supposedly intelligent people protecting their self-interests.
The clashes go with the territory of science. What doesn’t go with the territory is becoming matter-of-fact. The truth of the matter must be pursued at all costs, even to putting one’s life on the line.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103