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Guest commentary / Scientists must speak up


Real research needs 'Doomsday' attention

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By Ricky Dooley
Published:
As the sun rose from the East on a brisk Dec. 22, many came to realize that their doomsday prophecy has not came to fruition -- yet again. Instead of accepting responsibility that their "predictions" were wrong, many will choose to believe that we were spared, allowed to survive until the next end of times. What we should do is change this discourse into a new reasoning. The world is not going to end in any glorious fashion, nor anytime soon. Yes there have been mass extinctions, many individuals and some species have gone extinct but not life. Life is resilient. Animals are resilient, and people are resilient.
We humans have been on this satellite, orbiting our small sun for a very short period of time (geologically speaking), yet we have done remarkable things. Some of these things may seem evil but we will survive and continue to evolve.
It is remarkable how fixed our culture is on death, but I believe this is one of our strongest features. As one who studies death, I have learned the only way to describe life is to understand what it means to be dead. Yet, the amount of resources devoted to the blasphemous science (end of day's research) is truly appalling.
There is a strong take away message from Dec. 21, 2012. If we were to imagine how much good that could have been done with the time, money and resources devoted to such shows as "Doomsday Preppers" and Discovery channel's "2012 Apocalypse," a lot could have been done. But our culture doesn't appreciate that. We choose entertainment over science; propaganda over facts. Why teach history when you can teach "Ancient Aliens," "Pawn Stars" and "Toddlers & Tiaras"?
But who is responsible for this? We scientists are. We have allowed the message to be shifted, taken from facts and the scientific method, and molded into a fictional story. "What ifs" are now more powerful than what is. We need to shift our culture.
As we move forward I guarantee that a new end date will be put forth; my hope is that people will recognize fact from fiction. No man, women, child, dog or Mayan can predict the future. The earth, life and humans will be here tomorrow and with luck millions of years to come.

Ricky Dooley is a resident of Marysville and a graduate student at the University of Washington.

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