Dear Professor Dawkins
I would like to start by offering my thanks and gratitude for your efforts in educating the general public on scientific subjects. There are so many different world issues that need to be addressed, but my own self apathy prevents me from picking one and participate in its cause. This is one of the reasons why I find it very impressive that you have taken the energy and time in order to promote ideas I hold dear.
I am an American expat living in Germany for the past 10 or so years. The news I get about the United States of America is limited and filtered to what I can find online and therefore my point of view may be askew. However, the news seems to be placed into three bins: fear; injustice; and the occasional sprinkling of the good. The public should be informed, but the trend seems to be focused on fear. This is where I think scientific community needs to step up to the plate and vociferously present their knowledge. It may be one way to cut through the noise of fear.
New evidence for dark matter gets a 30 second blurb on the news, but the 24 hour news media fills airtime by discussing their opinion on who is going to be the next pope. There are too many factual news items that are getting dismissed by lazy journalism. I wonder how many real news events occurred during the 24 hour live feed of the Vatican’s smoke stack? Report something when there is something to report and stop wasting our time with conjecture.
My professional career has always been in the high-tech sector, whether it be chip manufacturing, laser metrology, or semiconductor lithography. Never once has my research resulted in fear, but rather an astonishment of what the human species can achieve through innovation in science. Knowledge and understanding usually replaces fear with goal driven actions and hope. The public contributions you, Professor Lawrence Krauss, Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, and many other scientists need to be commended. You provide the sliver of news devoted to hope.
Sir Paul Nurse did a BBC show titled “Science Under Attack.” It brings up issues which helps to understand why certain scientific subjects are being replaced by non-scientific nonsense. It basically infers that the scientific community’s voice is not explicit, loud and unified. Religious organizations are quite the opposite and have used this to insert their beliefs into areas that do not mix. Teaching creationism in the American education system is just one example of how the scientific community was not boisterous enough to stop it in its tracks. It is one of the paths we are taking as humans to devolve and it needs to be stopped. Proper education is, by far, the most important endeavour the scientific community could support. The highly educated will be bred out if this cycle continues.
One quick observation / suggestion based on the plethora of youtube videos regarding science v. religion. Religious debaters tend to ask questions that science does not yet have an explicit answer. Where did the big bang come from? It seems to be a futile discussion because science doesn’t end at one answer, but rather one answer opens up two more questions for scientist. The debaters use this lack of answers to insert God. I think one way to respond to this type of questioning is show evidence of when science did not have the answer, but religion did and then it was later refuted by science. It would help show a pattern that religion is losing their authority when it comes to scientific subjects. Leave the ‘why’ questions to religion, philosophers and 4 year olds and let science tackle the ‘how.’
In closing I would like to reiterate my appreciation for your attempts to educate the general public. Please keep up the good work and try to convince more of your colleagues to take more aggressive roles in public promotion of science education.