Science is about believing. Believing in yourself. Science is about intuition. Following your gut feelings. Science is about creativity. We are studying creation after all. Science is about discovery. There’s something new we can learn about everything. Science is about changing one’s opinion or findings when new data changes the outcome. The books of science have been rewritten many times and still will be as more evidence is found. Science in its purest form is really about morality and ethics. We are in this to improve the quality of life. To make it safe to live, to eat, and to drink. We are scientists to make the world a better place!
When we serve science, we serve humanity and we serve the Earth. It is our responsibility to care for those around us and protect them from harm. So why do we fail at this? Throughout history, we knowingly poison populations with the”wonders of science.” Romans knew lead was harmful but used it for water pipes anyway. It was easier to work with than other metals. This created an acceptable risk for their society even though they were poisoning their own water supplies.
Today’s science is all about acceptable risk. The problem is that risk is based on profits. People turn a blind eye to safety for the sake of their job security by focusing on profitability. We have gone back and forth saying toxins like lead, fluoride, even mercury are safe in products. We cite scientific studies to support it without looking at the studies themselves and whether the controls were rigid enough. We use metastudies to compile data from thousands of other studies, completely ignoring controls. This method provides an easy answer and the outcome can be swayed by the studies chosen to be represented. It has become a popular tool of misconception.
Science is also about recognizing bias. Bias is inherent in our profit based economy. It is our responsibility to look at facts, remove bias, and determine what is safe, not by acceptable risk, but by learning every factor involved that could change the outcome of our experiments. Toxicology studies effects of chemicals on the body, but advances in biochemistry can go further to study hormonal effects. Biogeochemists look at how toxins affect organisms and the environment. Quantum physicists look at how even the most minute particles behave when they interact. Epigeneticists determine factors that affect organisms across several generations. Science is always growing and people are always learning new things. To simply fall back on old methods to claim that a toxin is safe is irresponsible ignorance. Science is about honesty. We represent the truth. Science is the pursuit!
Mostly, science is about teaching. Not just about teaching the subject matter, but teaching about mistakes we have made. Most importantly, teaching people the tools they need to analyze data and think for themselves. There is a difference between a trained monkey and a person using sound scientific principles combined with moral judgment to make the right decision that benefits human life and the environment. And that’s why I’m in it!