Change hearts, not minds an argument for empathy american association for the advancement of science electricity notes physics


If you’re like me, you probably feel a compulsive need to educate people who have dangerous anti-science views. I’m talking about your pregnant neighbour who doesn’t want to vaccinate her kid. Or your cousin who doesn’t believe in teaching evolution, casting his vote at the gas city indiana police department polls. Suddenly it’s your personal mission to dispel these treacherous beliefs. Though again, if you’re like me, you’ve probably figured out that the average anti-vaccination advocate doesn’t respond to statistics and peer-reviewed jargon quite the way your co-workers would. The simple discussion you were hoping to have quickly becomes something much larger, and much more unpleasant. It leaves you believing that the person you were talking to was acting irrationally, while leaving them thinking of you as a condescending jerk.

Regardless of the reason, these discussions rarely play out like they do in your head. Nevertheless, if you’re like me, it probably still took you an embarrassingly long time to realize you were actually being counter-productive. Then, once you realized it, you probably went through an extended phase electricity for beginners pdf where you refused to engage with extremists under the assumption that you wouldn’t be able to change their minds anyway.

From there, the conversation spiraled down a rabbit hole of fisheye lenses, lying NASA scientists, and gas vs diesel engine unilateral references to the Flat Earth Society Facebook group. I didn’t talk much, just listened. Although Sean made a not-at-all-convincing argument for the Flat Earth theory, he did unintentionally make a convincing argument for Flat Earthers themselves. He told me I was the first scientist he’d ever talked to about his ideas. He told me he only had a high school education, and that, as far as he was aware, there was no way for him to personally observe the Earth’s roundness in an unaided way, given his limited understanding of science and mathematics. He told me that offline, everyone with whom he brought up these ideas brushed him off and refused to talk with grade 9 electricity questions him, while Flat Earthers he met online were happy, welcoming and willing to discuss. I listened to Sean for a while, validating his perspective — but not his beliefs — along the way.

Afterward, as I walked the short distance from the bike shop to my buddy’s apartment, I kept thinking about how productive the conversation had felt, even though I didn’t change Sean’s mind. I started thinking about the oft-cited, rarely acted-on problem of public distrust of scientists. It’s a problem we scientists like to blame on our portrayals in the media, dishonest data manipulation and political jargon, but rarely on our own behaviour. We publish all our official electricity grid code findings in journals that it takes a university degree to understand. Then we get frustrated with people who question said findings out of a lack of understanding. And we get confused when society thinks of us and our ideas as anything less than perfect.

Though scientists come from unique backgrounds and cultures, one thing that’s not diverse among the electricity quiz grade 9 scientific community is opinions on controversial science. Of course, it’s objectively good that scientists are spending their energy looking for solutions to climate change rather than arguing about whether or not it’s happening. However, the lack of interaction we have with views outside our paradigm is a double-edged sword. These views become punchlines, as do those who hold them. Over time, we lose our ability to see the other side as anything else, further entrenching both sides in their perspectives. By listening to Sean earnestly and getting a clearer idea of his beliefs, I was able to show him that not all scientists are the unscrupulous archetype he’d crafted in his mind. On a certain level, that felt productive too.

When I arrived at the party I was greeted by a group of university friends: B.Sc-holders, Med school applicants, and Ph.D. candidates. I was excited to tell them about how my innocuous 100 gas vs 10 ethanol conversation with Sean had helped me understand him more empathetically than the preconceived Flat Earther monolith I had in my mind before the discussion. I sat down to begin the story, but as soon as I uttered the phrase, “so turns out my bike repair guy is a Flat Earther,” the room erupted bp gas prices akron ohio into laughter and mockery. Everyone was waiting for a punchline as I told my story. When it became evident I wasn’t going to deliver, their attention faded into disinterest. Of course, I couldn’t be mad, as the same story from someone else a few hours earlier would have driven me to the same reaction.

Though my peers may not have had the same epiphany as me that day, since our talk, a mutual respect has formed. Sean always offers to give me free cleanings and add-ons for my bike when I stop by, and I’ve tried to help him out by chemically removing ugly finishes from some of his products. Sean’s negative image of the “lying NASA scientist” will forever e 87 gasoline be altered by our friendship, and though it’s a small positive, it was a whole lot more productive than arguing had ever been.