Honorable mention — High school essay contest: Garret Snitchler

Garret Snitchler

Facts vs. faith

By Garret Snitchler

The battle between faith and science has been waged for eons. Galileo, Darwin, and countless other scientists have had revolutionary findings crushed by religion. While many say that the times of science and religion warring are behind us, events as recent as Covid-19 can prove that there is still a large group that chooses faith over science.

Science’s public reputation has changed recently. The most notable example is how people treated face masks, social distancing, and the pandemic itself.

Science and its credibility became a political issue, especially in the United States. Conservatives had many things to say about science and its findings, but the common thread was that they did not want to do what it said because science was causing a large change in day-to-day life. The justifications they came up with were flimsy at best. Most did not care enough about the moral or intellectual side of things to doubt their own team or its charismatic leader.

On the other side of the line, people were rather upset about the fact that the president at the time and his large group of supporters so brazenly went against what science had told them. The phrase “believe science” and similar slogans began to circulate, but this is an obvious misnomer. Science is not a matter of faith. It is an international, decentralized force of social progress and learning that should not need to be “believed in.” Unlike religion, the findings of science are all rigorously examined and tested by a large community of other, unbiased scientists before they are ever considered facts. This is one of the main reasons why science is as credible as it is. If people actually cared about this truth, many of 500,000 Americans may not have died.

In a poll taken by Pew Research Center, only 3 percent of conservatives said that they did not believe in God at all. Such an overwhelming commonality between religion and the conservative ideology cannot be ignored, especially when considering that many of the arguments made against Covid-19 protections had to do with attending church and celebrating religious holidays like Christmas. Additionally, many of the popular arguments made against Covid-19 protections were also emotional in nature rather than being focused on facts, which is similar to how churches appeal to most people.

The world learned many things during 2020, and one of the most important lessons was the importance of science. It can only be hoped that, with new leadership that listens to scientists, the United States can recover from the damage it has sustained.

Garret, 18, is from Norfolk, Neb., and attends the University of Nebraska. “I am a software engineering major that has always wanted to program computers for a living,” Garret writes. “I also play tennis, and was on the Norfolk High School boys tennis team. I was a lifeguard for the past four years and have saved multiple lives.”