Making science fun: ASAP Science videos should be on everyone’s weekly watch list

Science, technology, engineering and math, aka STEM, are key areas of knowledge for the 21st century. Heck, they were key in the 20th century, too! Remember JFK and the moon challenge as well as his tribute to science on the 100th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences?

Recent scientific advances have not only made international cooperation desirable, but they have made it essential. The ocean, the atmosphere, outer space, belong not to one nation or one ideology, but to all mankind, and as science carries out its tasks in the years ahead, it must enlist all its own disciplines, all nations prepared for the scientific quest, and all men capable of sympathizing with the scientific impulse. (emphasis added)

How do we create an environment where science (my shorthand) is valued, where “all men” have an appreciation for science? Where denialism is a thing of the past? Because in today’s America, not unlike yesterday’s (Scopes Trial, 1925), science is devalued by the mainstream U.S. population.

US beliefs about evolution - chart

As Gallup shows, for 40 years, 2-in-5 Americans (or more) have believed God created man in our present form.
Less than 10,000 years ago.

 

Americans on evolution, 2006

Pew Research data from 2006 mirror the longer-running Gallup data. Note the difference between Protestants and Catholics.

 

Two smart and entertaining guys started ASAP Science as one way to make science interesting and fun.

Who are they? Mitchell Moffit (@mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (@whalewatchmeplz).  Subscribe to their YouTube channel and get a heads-up each week when they post a new video.

This week, the two “came out” again — to their 2.6 million YouTube followers. Here’s why:

A scientific understanding of the world has always given us the power and autonomy to enjoy the beauty and secrets of life, which we believe should be available to everyone. So, whether it be trying to break gender stereotypes within our scripts, or including stick figure drawings with a range of sexualities, it was part of our mission to include subtle references to the diversity of human culture. Even with these elements remaining discrete in our videos, we were quick to see the harsh reality that a gay stick figure could make somebody just as mad or upset as a gay person in real life.

Now, we’ve always known the YouTube comment section to be a special breed of comments — one that only the bravest of souls dare navigate. But it was the persistence on a channel dedicated to science that really had us scratching our head.

Folks who believe explicitly in a mythical all-powerful being and willfully disregard scientific investigation into the origins of both humans and earth are likely to include the Venn diagram subset of Americans who think homosexuality is both a choice and evil. In other words, they probably disregard the science of sexual orientation as well. (I love the research study that correlated gay men with more fecund sisters, mothers and aunts.)

This behavior falls more in line with “ad hominem” logical fallacies than “shoot the messenger” although both are rejections of rational thought.

Here are a few of my favorite ASAP Science videos.

Have a look. Give them a thumbs up. Subscribe to their YouTube channel and help put pre-age-of-reason thinking where it belongs: in the distant past.

 

 

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  1. Pingback: A counter to scientific denialism: ASAP Science videos | The Moderate Voice

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