Innovating the Future: Why Science is Important

Once upon a time we had a dream that we could fly like the birds.  And we realized that dream.  Then, we had a dream that we could ascend beyond the clouds and even beyond our world.  We realized that dream in April of 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space and the first man to orbit the Earth.  Later on, we dreamed that we could send a man to the moon, and President Kennedy even promised that we would before the 1960s were out.  He was right.  On July 21st, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon.

All of these things were made possible through science.

But there are a lot of people who don’t like science.  They say that scientific theories haven’t been proven, all while reading a two-thousand year old holy book with little to no historical backing.  They claim that science classes are brainwashing the kids, yet are comfortable taking a four-year old to church and telling them that their god is the only god.  They hold up faith as some unassailable idea, angrily asserting that questioning it is an attack on religious freedom.  And yet they claim that non-believers are the arrogant ones.

 

But I digress.  I don’t want to turn this post into an anti-religious rant.  I understand that the people I described above are not indicative of all religious folk.  But there is a point to be made in all this.  Science is still important today, and even if you are religious there’s no reason to fear or hate science.  There is nothing in science that says God does not exist.  The theory of evolution is not an attack on God or necessarily even a competing theory.  The issue does not come from science.  The issue seems to come from those who take a literal interpretation of the Bible.

Anyways, even if you don’t follow science or believe what it says, there’s no denying that it has given us many things.  Let’s look at NASA as an example.  NASA, through partnerships and experimentation, has actually been responsible for many different innovations and inventions that we use today.  Do you sleep on a memory foam mattress?  That material was originally used to insulate aircraft seats and absorb the energy of crashes, courtesy of NASA.  Do you have a cordless drill?  The cordless drill originally came from a partnership between NASA and Black & Decker.  Have you ever gotten an MRI?  NASA invented the digital imaging technique that eventually went into the creation of MRIs.

Smoke detectors, cameras, water filters, cochlear implants (for people with hearing loss), and so much more have come either directly or indirectly from the actions NASA has taken.  “Wow,” you might say, “NASA must get a lot of money from the federal budget if they’ve produced so much.”  You wouldn’t be alone in that line of thinking either.  Polls have shown that some people in the United States believe the NASA gets an inordinate amount of money from the federal budget, sometimes as high as twenty-five percent.  But that’s simply not true.  Usually the figure hovers around a measly one percent.  It was at its highest during the space race in the ’60s, and even then it was only around four and a half percent.  By contrast, our defense budget is much larger.  In 2011, defense spending accounted for twenty percent of the entire federal budget.

The point is that science experimentation and innovation has led to practical applications in our daily lives.  You may not agree with the scientific worldview, but you have still benefited from it even if you don’t realize it.  Some people attack science daily while benefiting from it at the same time, which is such a strange concept to me.  I don’t agree with religion, and yet I admire the artwork it inspired.  It seems to me that some people see science and religion as exclusionary worldviews when they’re simply not.  There’s no scientific theory that says all religious texts are invalid, nor is there any scripture (as far as I know) that says science is incontrovertibly wrong.  There is sometimes an intersection between the two ways of looking at the world that people tend to overlook.

It just seems hypocritical to be claiming that science is false while it makes your life easier and more convenient, you know?

 

Well that’s all I have for you this time.  Tune in next Wednesday for another post and as always, have a wonderful week!

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