I don’t mind if you’re not into science.

[Update: I turns out I meant, ‘I don’t mind’ not ‘I don’t care’.]

I have finally come to terms with this and therefore decided to share my feelings on the matter.*

I don’t mind if you’re not into science. This applies to everyone.

I may wonder why you’re not into science (Is it because you think it’s boring?). I may try to convince you that you should be into science (Seriously, because it’s anything but boring). I may be continually baffled as to how someone cannot be into science (I really mean it, science is amazing).

But at the end of the day, when it comes down it, it’s your choice. It’s a matter of personal interest. And if you’re not into science – that’s okay.

Right. So, this doesn’t seem like a particularly mind blowing blogpost at this point. Why bother writing about it at all? Well, that’s because I’ve just come realised that when I say this, it applies to everyone… and I mean everyone. Including children.

This is quite possibly an unexpected thing for someone to say who is quite heavily involved in science outreach with children (amongst other human categories). I am aware that I am probably not the first to feel this way, but until I can get this out there, I kind of feel like I am in my own little world.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t strongly support the requirements for all children (and all humans from all other categories) to understand science and achieve a certain level of competency in the subject. However, this is just as I feel that everyone should understand history, literacy, maths, art, technology, etc and achieve a certain level of competency in these subjects. [Side note: Perhaps the most important of these subjects is critical thinking, as it opens up the world to truly understanding all of the others and more. Moar critical thinking plz.]

And of course, I strongly support the efforts to ensure that everyone is exposed to and involved with science – therefore presenting them with opportunities to be engaged by science (again, just like any other subject).

Everyone should know that science is a subject that can take them far beyond the reaches of their imagination.

[Update: Everyone should know that science is a huge subject that encompasses many different disciplines, that it’s applicable to many different areas of life, and perhaps mostly importantly, that everyone is ‘clever’ enough to do science. Science is for everyone.]

But, if, after all of that, they choose not to pursue science any further, I think that’s okay. I don’t expect everyone to want to dance, or love to cook, or spend hours debating the merits of different science fiction universes. I have long realised that not everyone will be fascinated by the human skeleton and what it can tell us about our shared human history. So why should I expect them to be engaged by some any – aspect science?

And that’s the kicker.

If they aren’t engaged by it, I’ve finally come to realise, maybe it’s not me… maybe they’re just not into it. And maybe that’s okay.

Maybe they are into writing historical fiction, or building unusual birdhouses, or meticulously filing paper, or doing… just about anything else.

What does it matter if they’re not into science?

So long as they have the option and opportunity to be – and the support and encouragement to pursue it if their heart so desires.

*If this post seems overly into the negative emotions, please tell me – it may be a cultural difference between I don’t mind and I don’t care. Then again, maybe it’s because I’m an archaeologist. Maybe we aren’t the same as scientists afterall.

[Update: Why did I write this blogpost? Because sometimes I feel the STEM push can bit misguided. Often it seems that it makes science a subject that all kids SHOULD pursue opposed to a subject that they CAN pursue. I love the science aspect of my field, but I also love the history. I love the maths invovled, but I also love the anthropology. I arrived at archaeology for the history, got involved for the science, but I stayed for the humanity. I wrote this blogpost because I want people to find science – to fall in love with it, not be forced into it.]

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One response to “I don’t mind if you’re not into science.

  1. I’ve always seen my scicomm activity as giving people a window into science so that they can make a better informed decision about pursuing a career in it. I think I aim to highlight the reality (which I love and find fascinating) while trying to dispel some of the tired assumptions and stereotyping of science work.

    When I was in school the only nod to a career in science was that they might get a Nurse to sit under the ‘Sciences’ banner at the careers fair.

    What I do now in scicomms is just trying to redress the balance and provide a new generation with an idea of what is possible. I don’t for a moment think that all kids should grow up to be a scientist and in the same way I shouldn’t take up a musical career or go into professional sports.

    TL;DR *nodding approval*

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