Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My new cause

I am staying home to rest today in hopes of getting over this cold faster. And other than transplanting my starts, which needs to be done soon I'm going to actually try and rest and not push myself to do anything else because I feel crappy. It's very hard for me to justify just resting when I'm surrounded by people who never seem to get to rest, but I feel bad enough today it's winning out over guilt.

But, I have a new cause! I have been reading news about Jenny McCarthy's and anti-vaxxers, and homebirthers who eschew medical care for pregnancy and childbirth (at the risk of their babies) and people who want Intelligent Design taught in schools and vegans whose babies are malnourished because mom is not getting enough nutrients and our country seems to be filled with psuedo science. And it is hard to find actual science on the internet. My new doctor suggested as I get older to take Estrovan to help pre-menopause symptoms but I take an SSRI for anxiety and Estrovan has a little kava in it which I heard is dangerous to combine. But if you search for answers on the internet all you get is either "why antidepressants are evil" or "why herbal supplements will kill you". There's no link to studies or statistics (and if there is I didn't wade through the propaganda long enough to find it). I asked my doctor and she said it's not an issue, but of course, I don't believe her and want to find out myself. But how can I find out without any actual non-hysterical, propaganda information available? I guess I need to get other opinions from a few doctors or pharmacists, but it did get me thinking about how so many people in our country are "educated" on subjects by what they can google information on.

Which brings me to my new cause - our country is woefully lacking in scientific thought. Many people are more likely to follow an ex-Playboy model's advice on health care for their children than a pediatrician who went to med. school and has extensive education and experience on the subject. Why is that?

I would say it is distrust of the government and large corporations, but those of you who know me well know that I, of all people, am Ms. Large-corporations-are-pure-evil-the-government-is-in-their-pockets-and-it-would-take-nothing-short-of-a-revolution-to-overthrow-the-massive-corruption-that-is-our-country. I'm the only one in our office who seems convinced (or is naive enough to say it out loud) that our office being bugged by a large, evil corporation who will remain unnamed in this public blog. When Obama was elected I said that I liked him but I didn't think things would change because the position of "president" means nothing. He's a figurehead. He has no power. The real power is in the hands of CEO's of major global corporations who use governments officials as puppets to what they want in order to get richer - those are the people who "lead our country" through manipulation of the media (read: Fox News) and propaganda. A good book to read to see where I'm coming from is What's the Matter With Kansas.

So, I'm definitely not of the "blindly trust pharmaceutical companies or the government" and even I know vaccines are safer than no vaccines. But then the blindly following Fox News seems like the political flipside of the psuedo-science crowd that follows Jenny McCarthy and the like. People in our country like to follow. And there isn't enough education out there for them to have the background knowledge to know when they're following quacks.

How can that be changed??? That is my big question right now. But I think if we change our country's idea of what "science" is early on in a child's life, there may be more hope. Science is often viewed as "what nerds do" or "I can't do that because it's too hard" or it's "something for the liberal elite". If science became an easily accessible fun subject to children, maybe they would grow up thinking of science as fun, the way many children think reading is fun. There are already things in the works promoting that - wonderful PBS shows like Fetch with Ruff Ruffman and Syd the Science Kid. And there are fun school programs like Mad Science. But those may not be available to Middle America. It needs to permeate out into our country outside of the coastal middle-class liberals and into Middle America where farmers and their children realize that it takes scientific knowledge to be a farmer, and mechanics are engineers - similar to science. That science is accessible to everyone and it is magical and fun and amazing.

1 comment:

  1. Preach it!!! I've become beyond exasperated by the pseudo-science people (and I come across A LOT of them in my line of work)! I long ago realized that personally looking for change on a grand scale is only discouraging so I've turned to stopping despairing at the huge problem and deal with the person in front of me.

    What that means to me is not letting people get away with spewing lies as scientific fact, particularly if they're trying to win someone over to their side. I know I'll not convince many of the people who are already converts but perhaps I can encourage those who are looking for answers to actually look for ANSWERS, not just listen to what the newest actor-expert has to say about something about which they have no science!

    If I hear another person say "well, according to Suzanne Sommers . . ." ARRGGGH!