I shared an article on my MY Midlife Mayhem Facebook page the other day, written by Clementine Ford, called “We need to move past the idea that everything is up for debate”.
For those who don’t know Clementine, she is a writer, a leading feminist and advocate for equal rights in Australia, as well as a graduate of gender studies. She has had several books and numerous articles published on the subject. The reason behind this particular article was her dismay at being pitched against a panel of similar experts (?) in the field recently, in front of a live audience, that turned out to be completely ill-informed on the subject.
As she says, ‘fair and balanced commentary around, say, climate change does not mean that we have to counter the weight of an actual scientist and their quantifiable research with the opinions of someone who loftily refers to themselves as a “climate change sceptic. It’s an insult to the time and energy spent by people working at the forefront of their fields to suggest their expertise is little more than one side of the story.’
Thanks to social media, each of us has a voice now as well as a forum to use it, which fundamentally, I still believe to be a good thing. Even if the majority of Trump’s tweets make us wince at their ickiness and ignorance, some insight into the machinations of the crazy brain that is currently leading the Western world has to be useful. (Let’s ignore the Trolls for a moment – the bullies and aggressive naysayers, who have nothing to contribute but bile ie. the abuse of the empowerment provided by technology).
NC and I were at a talk the other night by Anna Krien,.who recently published an essay about climate change called The Long Goodbye. She raised a similar point on this topic when challenged (again – yawn) about whether climate change is real. For a lot of reasons – many of them political and therefore the result of spin – some people still continue to argue against the scientific evidence behind global warming that has been determined by years and years of research and government investment and carried out by the top brains of our countries. These people believe that because their voices are louder – or because they have the verbal dexterity to spin their words better than the average nerdy scientist locked up in a lab all day – that what they say is right.
I have a similar analogy as the parent of a child with ADHD, and the cynicism from teachers, medical professionals, and FRIENDS levelled at the condition and its validity – that, in spite of the millions spent on research, the documented evidence of the condition since the early twentieth century, or indeed its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It seems that if the Daily Mail says the condition is a myth that has been a) invented by bad parents or b) created by the large pharmaceutical companies, then it must be so. I do wonder if the same journalists that have poured petrol on the fire ever consider what that cynicism does to the parents of these kids, who are already falling apart at the seams?
For the record, I parented NC as badly as I have Kurt, and she is now model child material.
Not that we want the pendulum to swing the other way or for our voices to be shut down. Anyone who is lapping up The Handmaid’s Tale like I am and trying to ignore the uncomfortable comparison of the Republic of Gilead to our own society will understand how dangerous it can be when that happens.
What I am trying to say, (and as Clementine Ford much more eloquently put it), is that we are entitled to an opinion and we have a voice to air it publicly. However, that opinion needs to be substantiated; to be informed by facts and evidence.
I’m not saying that every scientist is right all the time. They make mistakes, too. You only have to look as far as the atom bomb and Thalidomide to know that. (And let’s hope Bill Gates isn’t right this time in his prediction that bioterrorism could wipe up out 33 million people in less than a year).
Now, I am no expert, but the following are facts – substantiated by research:
Fact: The Barrier Reef will die, no matter how many plastic bags we replace with paper. If we do switch to renewable energy, we might save twenty percent of it – max.
Fact: ADHD is a real condition. The naming of the condition is unfortunate, granted – and I will hit the next person that tells me how active their child is – but these children’s brains do not function in the same way as ours, in much the same way that the schizophrenic’s mind doesn’t.
Fact: Trump is a racist, bigoted c**t.