DAVAO

EDITORIAL: Why we need science

TO BE able to understand how things work around us, there is a need for everyone to understand the basic concepts that have been taught to us in our science classes. Sadly, not everyone is able to grasp scientific concepts or understand the science of things.

For example, Senate President Vicente Sotto III suggested that cloud seeding be done in areas affected by the Taal Volcano.

“Water removes debris... Let’s not wait for the rain,” he was quoted saying in an Inquirer report on January 13, 2020.

While cloud seeding is widely used in agriculture during drought, it is not always a guarantee that "seeding" will produce rain.

According to howstuffworks.com, "Despite some successful tests, cloud seeding still has many problems. The fundamental concern is: Does it work? It may be a chicken-and-egg conundrum – would it have rained in a given area without the use of cloud seeding, and would it have rained less? Cloud seeding also depends heavily on environmental conditions like temperature and cloud composition."

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) have not weighed on this yet.

The recent statement from Sotto is a clear indication that a refresher course in science must probably be included in briefing politicians. Funny as it sounds, this is not the first time that a politician blurted out questionable statements.

Having a refresher course in science might be too much though. As an alternative, we recommend politicians seek the experts or do their research before making any science-related statements. They may be good with their hollow mother statements but they should be careful when it comes to things they have no idea about. It is okay to be clueless about some things.

The government might also want to intensify its campaign when it comes to the sciences. DOST, its arm agencies, state scientists, and the academe have done a number of commendable work in the past but are not given the attention they deserve. This could probably due to science and technology not being given priority by the government. For example, it is not part of the top ten agencies with the biggest budget.

The government may also want to provide scientific services to our politicians for them to better understand how the environment around them works. It might also want to launch a campaign within the different branches of the government for its employees to appreciate science and technology.

We take science for granted. This attitude results in some Filipinos being clueless about how the natural world works around them. It is not only government employees and politicians who need to appreciate science in their lives, the general public also needs it to understand why volcanoes erupt or why there are earthquakes.


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