STANDING UP FOR SCIENCE, by Dr. Antonella Carpenter

In a world where some individuals or groups are always standing up against one issue or another, I feel it is appropriate, if not overdue, to show the positive side of demonstrations and to make our voices heard in favor of something very valuable to human survival and advancements in our quality of life. It isn’t simply an issue of showing the possible positive side of protests, by supporting something close to our hearts; it is a matter of bringing to the public’s attention a commodity taken for granted and not sufficiently appreciated. These statements are referring specifically to science, which might be a subject dreaded by clueless students wishing to get by their educational requirements with the minimum of effort, but in reality it is something of great beauty with the power to provide gratification and serenity, along with freedom from mental confusion, to anyone who has dedicated the necessary amount of time and effort into learning the basics of such a subject.

Actually acquiring the basic knowledge of science is only the beginning stage, almost like the necessary step to reach the entrance of a different world, where expanding the boundary of knowledge is instinctively achieved, and where the reassuring feeling of understanding the reason for various occurrences can free humans from fear. The main cause of fear is having to face the unknown without protection or assistance of any kind; but if something can help a human being understand, predict and possibly prevent unusual and undesirable situations, then that something can assist the same individual to handle existence with confidence and serenity. Unfortunately, over the centuries, scientists have been the most maligned members of society, sometime viciously attacked and vilified by a public totally unaware of even the most basic principles of what constitutes real science; had the general public possessed even a minimal understanding of it, they would not have been able to bring forth any of their destructive arguments and in that way negatively effect society. The case of Louis Pasteur immediately comes to mind. Such a great man tried to bring to the attention of medical practitioners something almost obvious, even if overlooked, and for that he was not simply overruled, he was in fact ridiculed, demonized and effectively robbed of a normal existence. It wasn’t until many years later that the validity of his claims was recognized, but even after that , many medical practitioners tried to unofficially ignore the guidelines of safety provided by his scientific accomplishments.

What is even more disheartening, if not overwhelmingly scary, is that in present days, within the raging battle between standard medical care and naturopathic ways, some alternative practitioners are actually revamping the attacks to Louis Pasteur, even going as far as referring to him as an “Idiot”, on the grounds that raw milk is a much healthier choice for consumers. In support of science no one should try to force or control human behavior. If one firmly believes in freedom, in all of its aspects, then that person should also include freedom of choice in food selection or health care possibilities for that matter.

So if an individual prefers or feels more comfortable consuming raw milk, by all means, that individual should be allowed to pursue such a personal preference without obstacles. However what is totally unacceptable is a display of total ignorance by attacking science and any of the great visionaries who have improved human existence and our understanding of the universe through the means of science. Independently from individual preferences, the effort to deny the invaluable contribution to human health provided by the process of pasteurization is nothing less than insane. On the other side of the coin, it is understandable how many people choose to select raw milk for their family’s diet, in view of the excessive use of medications inflicted to the dairy herds; still that does not justify denial of scientific evidence.

Although not going as far as trying to nullify the work of one particular scientist, the presently popular attacks to the process of vaccination are another attempt to deny science. This is not to deny that some vaccines being pushed today are actually harmful, this is an effort to bring the public’s attention to a misguided attitude of some naturopathic practitioners, who claim that the very process of vaccination hinder the work of our immune system. I state again that science, not hear- say and unfounded opinions, must take precedence over what is presented to the public. The very process of vaccination is nothing more than a method utilized to assist the immune system in its effort to fight undesirable intruders; this goal is achieved by providing the characteristics of the eventual foreign invader, so that it can be quickly recognized and destroyed by the human body’s natural defense weapons. This in no way indicates that it is a good practice to include in vaccines damaging additives, like preservatives or emulsifiers, introduced into the medical products simply to extend shelf life and therefore maximize the profit.

All of the mentioned problems are introduced because of business interests and have absolutely no connection with scientific principles. That is the very reason why the public should be reminded to investigate anything they see or hear, and rather than arrive to a quick conclusion, they should take the necessary time to investigate all of the factors involved in the case under scrutiny and allow science to take its proper leading, as well as determining position, in the issue being discussed. If everybody would give their minds sufficient time to analyze the facts and review the related scientific evidence, no one would fall victim to fear, and no one would come to the wrong conclusions. In other words: “Let science guide your thoughts and you will reach the correct conclusion.” Ultimately, for people lacking the basics in scientific training, the suggestion would be to rely on common sense and search for the explanation from people trained in hard science; but most of all do not blindly rely on the views of the press.

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