Caught between Old and New

Agriculture scientists report that the weaker one’s scientific knowledge, the angrier they are about genetically modified crops. Previous studies have found that, while genetically modified organism (GMO) opponents demand more research into the foods, no amount of science can convince them the products are safe. “We have to get people to recognize gaps in their knowledge before we try to teach them new things and have a meaningful discussion,” one researcher said.

Mariner notices that the phenomenon of rebelling because something is not familiar or seems to countermand established values is common across any discipline including behavior seemingly not becoming to the standard of the day. For example, mariner, a registered old fogey, resists the use of smart phones and social media. He claims social interaction is minimized, human importance is trivialized, and the loss of privacy also means the loss of independent thought. Yet, smart phones are universally used around the world and social media is how millions communicate – to the extent that POTUS uses Twitter to issue national policy, without talking to any human.

Similar to the detractors of GMO, mariner will never accept the values of future technology no matter how hard Neil Degrasse Tyson tries to persuade him. Mariner suggests Neil watch the Matrix movies. Mariner stands his ground as a primate, not as a digitized asset. Yes, he knows already he is becoming an anachronism but he is comfortable with that.

The pattern of resistance demonstrated by the GMO resisters and mariner is universal. One wonders how the Amish survive. The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German Anabaptist origins. They are closely related to, but distinct from, Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. They place their beliefs on the Holy Bible, isolating themselves from the rest of society is one of the key Amish beliefs. They think secular culture has a polluting effect which promotes pride, greed, immorality and materialism. Therefore, to avoid the use of television, radios, computers, and modern appliances, they do not hook up to the electrical grid.

A hardy culture that equates religious value to physically working hard, it offers a slap at the “English” (non-Amish): “If a dollar doesn’t do what it used to, remember that hardly anyone else does either.”

Finally, in the midst of worldwide turmoil in politics, economy and human equality, one sees rebellion for similar reasons – shattered beliefs and protocols, cultural imbalance in economy, and ignorance of the reality represented by modern advances in science and technology. The reader is free to place blame on numerous causes both for ignorance and unpreparedness for new concepts.

Mariner chooses education. One cannot blame education in isolation because it is subject to politics and other resistance to newness by conservative reactions to radical thought. But one must take note that the core knowledge, that is, the curriculum, is no longer appropriate to the world that its students face. If one is to be up-to-date on scientific knowledge, one must at least be aware of the difference between Einsteinian reality and the reality of quantum theory. See, most of you don’t know but it is easily understood and sets the direction for all future science. Check your smartphone.

Ancient Mariner



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