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Posts Tagged ‘society’

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  I love seeing pictures of friends and family and learning what they are up to.  I love funny jokes, videos and shares of memes, podcasts and things gone viral (whatever any of that means).  But I hate, and I mean HATE, drive-by opinion sharing.  If you are reading this, yes, I get the irony.

Clinton sucks!  Trump supporters are idiots!  Don’t believe this!  Don’t believe that!  It all sums up to “I’m screaming my opinion so that everyone can know where I stand!”  So, as I write this “scream of my opinion” I ask the question, “Why must so many of us do this?”  We have basically all turned into virtual bumper stickers, and I don’t want to be a bumper sticker (roll credits).

There isn’t nuance online.  We lose the often necessary emotional attachment of our words online (which sometimes is a good thing).  We can be lost in sarcasm online.  But most importantly, in these short sound bytes, we lose the particulars/details that can drive a point home properly.  It is the thing I struggle with the most when I teach biology to undergraduates.

For example, evolution is a complicated subject.  You can take an entire year of class on the subject, but yet many will make opinions, strong opinions about the subject because of what they learned online, TV, or quite frankly in a classroom.  I teach evolution in all of my classes, but it is difficult to to teach it in its entirety when its practically impossible to do so.  So, students are left with the best that they can make out of it, and unfortunately, they will have gaps in their knowledge, but think they do not have gaps.  Heck, I have gaps, and I teach the stuff, how can they not possibly understand that they too have gaps?

So, what’s the answer?  I don’t know, but I know it’s not Facebook, nor instagram, or whatever the kids are using these days.  I believe in relationships.  I believe in time.  Strangers are way less likely to listen to my words than friends.  I believe in talking over dinner, beer, or coffee.  I believe in being open-minded.  My mind must be able to listen to others with the real possibility that my mental framework can change based on what I hear.  It may not, but I must believe that it can change.

Here is the bet I am willing to make every single time.  If you vote for Trump, you didn’t do your research.  If you vote for Clinton, you didn’t do your research.  If you vote, you didn’t do your research.  I won’t win that bet everytime, but I am winning it more than 75% of the time.  But I guess the main point of my blog is that research is not a bumper sticker.  Whether read on a car, or read on a post, it’s still just a bumper sticker.  The volumes of information available on multiple subjects, simply can’t be summed up in a blog, a post, nor a sound byte (yes, I know I am spelling it this way).

I’m a pretty smart guy.  I know a lot about a lot of things.  But the most important thing that I know, is that I don’t know a lot about a lot.  I find the bumper stickers of life, politics, Facebook, etc., dangerous to society.  How important is it to believe in certain things?  In other words, if I disagree with you on a subject does it hurt society?  It’s not the disagreements that bother me, it’s the us versus them mentality that bothers me.  The bumper sticker, the post, the tweet, the politcal sound byte tells the world which team you are on.  It’s not about sharing.  It’s not about opening discussion.  It’s about declaring sides.  I’ll talk to just about anybody about anything, but it needs to be in-person, or at the very least on the phone.  So, give me call.  (Terrible ending for this blog.  Oh well, what you going to do?)

On a related note.  Vote!  Because what else you going to do?


My son and I drove passed some cotton fields two days ago.  Cotton fields are HUGE!!  Do you have any idea how big cotton fields are?  Also we passed by bales of cotton.  They were HUGE!!  Do you have any idea how big bales of cotton are?  Cotton is also very prickly.  Dangerous for the hands and there are millions of bolls of cotton in the field.  My perspective on “picking cotton” has never been more adjusted.

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