Saturday, November 1, 2014

LEARNING CURVES... Ebola and the importance of science.. November 1, 2014

 I think maybe a significant portion of Americans do not believe that life individually and collectively is, by its very nature, a series of many 'learning curves'. We are becoming a 'quickie' , 'sound bite', 'don't ask me to think, learn and grow' people to an alarming extent. When a new challenge to our comfort  isn't immediately  understood  our tendency is to  panic,  fear and blame others.  Some seem to  believe we should not have to take the time or bear the discomfort of learning anything, but that life's troubles should come already solved on a silver platter.

 One place this surfaces is in the fearful public  reaction to any new contagious disease. Now Ebola. There is only one source for the best information on such a thing in today's world. It is not in Facebook opinions or religion or politics. It is the purest science that humans have so far accumulated via the scientific method. Many medical scientists have been on a learning curve for decades on this and their consensus, as imperfect as it may seem at times, can give us hands down the best guidance available. So far, after all the fear, exaggerated stories and blaming.... the science has been right. Everyone in America who has contracted the disease had very intense physical connection to an Ebola patient WHEN THEY WERE AT THE HEIGHT OF THEIR SYMPTOMS, NOT BEFORE or after. This is how it is with Ebola.  Hospitals who engaged the learning curve months ago have had nearly flawless performance in caring for Ebola patients and protecting workers and the public. Hospitals that didn't enter that learning curve made some tragic mistakes and added to public fears. Politics in places has yielded to the fear and ignored the science, has refused to join the learning curve and has thus set a poor public example.  Science teaches the best way to keep Ebola from becoming an epidemic is not by erecting travel blockades and enforcing unscientific quarantines. Such behavior is a fearful rejection of  sound knowledge and actually backfires to increase the likelihood of Ebola getting out of control.

Thankfully, in spite of ungrounded fears and politicians and  radio celebs acting  irresponsibly;  and because of courageous front line medical workers,  we seem to be holding reasonably well  to the science based course. A majority seems to have joined this learning curve challenge of our nation. It seems very important that Americans manage to generate more trust that God does provide various highly  gifted humans who have dedicated their lives  to the study and expertise  of  various areas of life. It is good to accept, with grateful yet attentive minds, their gifts of learning and experience. Sometimes learning includes a good dose of following those who know more than we do about a particular area of reality. But also, the human experience  calls us all to  face the reality that no one or  group is all-knowing or ever perfect, including us.

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