Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two Minds that Changed

This weekend brought me two articles by people who have changed their minds about a major issue from among the many that define our political/social divide.

First, the thoughts of a woman -- self-described as a Christian Republican right-to-lifer -- who moved to Canada and changed her mind about the evils of universal health care.

Second, a thoughtful op-ed from today's Star Tribune by a small-town fire chief named Peter Leschak, who believed in Biblical creationism. But then he read up on some facts and scientific reasoning and found out he didn't believe everything was created in seven days, just a few thousand years ago.

As a former evolution and science skeptic, Leschak offered some advice:

Scientists wonder -- incredulously -- how can 21st-century people possibly believe that God fashioned the world in seven days a few thousand years ago? Why? Because it is emotionally comforting and anthropomorphic -- the creation myth of our tribe -- and therefore naturally attractive to humans; and because those in the scientific community have failed to effectively share the knowledge they've gleaned.
Which directly relates to Maggie Koerth-Baker's call for scientists, science museums, and science writers to speak in ways that people can understand.

If these two people can change their minds, it's not hopeless. It's just a lot of communication work.

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