Scientists and Journalists are Heroes

The Pursuit of Truth

If you ask people who are the heroes of our society most will respond by naming a sports or war star. Embedded deep in the Zeitgeist of our society is the belief that conflict, either armed or not, is the best definition of our character. It’s not. To me, the pursuit of knowledge is the highest human endeavor. Therefore, those who dedicate themselves to finding answers to our biggest questions are the real heroes.

Defining a Hero

A hero is defined as someone who can persevere and succeed through trying circumstances. The odds are stacked against them. Their life or their season is on the line. Yet somehow they find a way to accomplish their goals.

But heroism can extend far beyond a sports or battle field.

Science is Heroic

Scientists live their lives with the odds stacked against them. They are pursuing something new, something unknown, and in their quest they often redefine existing paradigms to make society better.

Romans used to bleed the sick in order to try to heal them.
Humans once lived in caves.
A hundred years ago there weren’t any phones much less cellphones.
We used to have to walk or ride a horse to get where we’re going.

Measles once killed people.

Food was once prepared on unclean surfaces!

My point is if you like living in a modern dwelling with a cellphone in your hand, thank a scientist. If you like being able to go to a hospital that can treat most diseases and maladies, thank a scientist. If you like your car, thank a scientist. If you like eating safe food, thank a scientist. If you’re happy to know about our solar system, thank a scientist. Virtually everything we use in our modern lives comes from science. Everything we know comes from science.

Archaeologists Uncover Secrets

Archaeologists in particular are heroes to me. So much of our history of the world is written by the winners of armed conflicts. The losers rarely have their say. Because of this, many significant details about the past are lost. Archaeologists discover those details. They can go in and study bones or ruins and find the truth about human history.

There have been many mass death events in human history that still have not been explained. There was a plague that hit Rome around 150 AD that killed 5 million people and we still don’t know much about it.  But scientists are working hard to extract DNA from over 2000 year old corpses to discover what killed them!  What they discover could lead to a new vaccination or medicine that saves millions more lives.

Archaeologists are also uncovering cities we didn’t know about, cultures we didn’t know about, and somewhere in those discoveries might be a significant clue about who we are and where we came from.

Do we celebrate archaeologists or other scientists as heroes? No. But why not? Surely, finding a cure to the Black Plague that wiped out millions is more heroic than scoring a touchdown or even saving a couple of war buddies on the battlefield. I’m not saying that saving your buddies isn’t heroic but in the grand scheme of humanity, scientists are way more important than soldiers.

Most people just don’t see it that way.

Journalism is Also Heroic

Journalists are also heroes of mine. There is a very corrupt information system in our country. When you think of news outlets like Fox that are owned by white nationalists like Rupert Murdoch, so much of our news is skewed and bent to fit a racist philosophy.  A true journalist fights those who bend and manipulate information. They seek truth and they often lose their lives and their careers for what they uncover.

That’s heroic to me.

The benefit of journalism is innocent people are proven innocent, guilty people are punished, scandals are illuminated, and the public is given accurate information to base their opinions on.

If we only value the winners of the armed conflicts, then our world would be run by dictators and their opinions would be taken as fact (Donald Trump).  Every facet our lives would be controlled by them. That makes scientists and journalists the true freedom fighters and the most important people in our world.

Next time you go to your kids room and see posters of football stars, ask yourself if you’re teaching them the best perspective on how to value individual contributions to society.