A guest post by HxA member Matthew J. Oliver, Patricia & Charles Robertson Associate Professor of Marine Science & Policy at the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of Delaware. His local march was covered in both Delaware online and The Cape Gazette.
I recently took the opportunity as a natural scientist to speak at an affiliated March for Science in Lewes, Delaware. The goal of my talk was to give a short, HXA inspired speech to encourage people to consider viewpoint diversity as it relates to environmental issues. The speech was very well received by professional science writers and university faculty. I appreciate the resources provided by HXA that help me develop ideas on how to tackle viewpoint diversity in the natural sciences. The text of the speech is attached to this post. This was my first attempt to promote viewpoint diversity in the sciences. Any mistakes or misrepresentations are mine alone.
Viewpoint is a word natural scientists try to avoid when talking about the environment. We pride ourselves on sticking to facts and defendable inferences. Our own viewpoints are interesting, but usually a private matter. However, when I communicate science, viewpoints are very important. I have found that viewpoints do not necessarily relativize the truth of scientific facts, but rank their importance in a person’s life. We may agree on what the facts are, but whether or not these facts filter into behavior seems to be an entirely different matter, which I find depends on viewpoint.
If the world had few signs of human impact, geoscientists could be excused for not paying much attention to viewpoint diversity. This is not the case. We have significant evidence of human impact on the planet (pollution, climate, overfishing etc.), therefore human viewpoint diversity is an important part of the larger geoscience project.
Opinions expressed are those of the author(s). Publication does not imply endorsement by Heterodox Academy or any of its members. We welcome your comments below. Feel free to challenge and disagree, but please try to model the sort of respectful and constructive criticism that makes viewpoint diversity most valuable. Comments that include obscenity or aggression are likely to be deleted.