I studied chemistry and biology in school for one major reason: to develop a better understanding of the underlying science behind cystic fibrosis. I've written about this before, but I believed that having a better understanding of why cystic fibrosis is what it is would give me a better sense of control, and with that, hopefully, a better feeling of peace.
As I grew older, I became fascinated and obsessed with the pursuit of obtaining more knowledge. In everything I do, I am driven by evidence-based methods. I want to ensure I am most efficient by having the best understanding possible of whatever it is I am seeking out to do. An unintended consequence is that I sometimes obsess too much over doing research designing game plans – I make to-do lists for the to-do lists I need to make – that I probably should just let myself burnt by attempting and failing first. I'm trying to be better about having an understanding of something while actively practicing whatever that knowledge is. With this project, I hope to do just that.
I am passionate about science literacy and I love educating others. One of my goals as a writer is to improve science literacy amongst those that are not particularly educated about science, as well as people that do have a decent understanding but want to understand more. I've even noticed that people that do have basic science understanding sometimes have little to no applicable knowledge.
I don't believe that writing about science has to be boring, tedious, or even as narrow as what's typically labeled as "science." I believe that science is less of a concrete realm and more of an abstract concept, almost more of a way of thinking. This means that it's possible this project will explain classical science issues that I think people are interested in like why leaves change colors or why salt works to prevent ice on roads. But it also means I'll tackle bigger issues – issues unfortunately considered political – like climate change, evolution, and alternative energy. I haven't fully decided (at least with this project) if I'll write about social issues that still require a scientific approach to understanding them.
This project has multiple purposes. I don't want to pretend that I'm a qualified expert to use the knowledge I currently have to explain a wide-reaching array of topics. This is also an exercise for me: educating myself, doing the research, combing through sources, collecting the evidence, then putting it all together and distilling it in a way that is interesting to people. Most of the topics I write about will be topics that could be easily read about on Wikipedia. Instead of expecting people to seek out the knowledge themselves, my goal is to bring the knowledge to whoever is interested in reading about them.
Sadly, I think science is associated with school, which, when you're young, is a requirement. Everything is far less interesting to people when they are required to learn about it. I'd venture to say most adults haven't learned about many scientific topics in quite some time, likely since elementary or middle school. For example, do most people understand how hurricanes occur? Our exposure to hurricanes is whenever they devastate a coastal area and there's a brief news piece on them, maybe barely touching on them.
Before I conclude this piece with a little snippet, I want to give a disclosure. For whatever reason, people think science has recently become political. I want to clear something up about this discussion. What you are trying to understand whenever you utilize the scientific process is inherently not political; the scientific process is trying to understand the physical or natural world to the best of our ability through experiments. However, science and the community itself can become political. This often occurs because of circumstances. Was it political when Darwin wrote about the revolutionary concept of evolution? Absolutely. Was it political when Galileo hypothesized the Sun revolved around the Earth, railing against the immensely powerful Catholic's church accepted doctrine? Unquestionably. Galileo died after being confined to his house for the rest of his life. Heliocentrism and evolution are now accepted by every honest scientist in the world. I never intend to alienate my audience, but I also refuse to accept any arguments to the contrary that lack total evidence. This means I won't provide an "equal but other side" in discussions about climate change and evolution; at most, I will entertain only the most prominent arguments in order to refute them. I think this is important to disclose because this mindset is often derided as being narrow-minded, when, in fact, it's the total opposite. Narrow-mindedness is refusing to accept evidence, not refusing to accept evidence-less arguments.
I hope people are interested in this project. To give people a taste of it, I'm going to give a quick outline of what these pieces will look like.
The Real-World Implications about the Issue at hand - Here's where I'll explain why I think people should care about this topic. I'll explain why it's good to understand it so we can all be better educated.
The Science Behind the Issue - I'll give a layman's overview at the beginning of the section before getting into the deeper science. I'll try to incorporate graphics or videos if possible to assist in explaining.
A Summary – I think this is self-explanatory.
What's Next Week? - My goal is to have a decent idea of the next couple of pieces I'm planning to write by the time I publish each piece, so here's where I'll give a little teaser of the next piece.
I just found out that August is National Immunization Awareness Month so since I'm starting this project in August, my first topic will be posted tomorrow and it's about vaccines! I'll discuss how our bodies acquire immunity through vaccinations, the safety of vaccines (spoiler: they are safe), and how there is absolutely zero valuable evidence showing a link between vaccines and autism (and the doctor that fabricated this myth is shockingly no longer a doctor).
I hope people are interested in this project! I'm really excited about it.