So I’m standing in the petty cash office at work and there’s a TV droning CNN nonstop. I was playing Flappy Bird (ha!) and overheard some stats about people who don’t believe in climate change (something along the lines of “only 42% of Americans believe in climate change that’s influenced by man”).
People who deny climate change are right wingers/dolts (mutually inclusive). I’m paraphrasing some of the rest of what I heard:
- “There are facts that unequivocally point towards climate change, yet people like Marco Rubio still deny it exists.” Also, sky is blue.
- “I don’t think most Americans can name a single scientist.” If true, this is more a black eye on Americans than anything else. If asked, you can say your buddy govinbhai is a (fledgling) scientist.
- And here’s the quote that really pissed me off, “The scientists most Americans are familiar with is the fictional Dr. Sheldon Cooper [of The Big Bang Theory], who is brilliant, condescending, and narcissistic. Given this representation of scientists it is understandable that scientists do not inspire confidence in many Americans.” This was infinitely more infuriating than Flappy Bird.
Working in academia I tend to spend a lot of time will well educated, scientifically literate people (scientists). Ask any faculty member at Temple University or elsewhere and they will be in staunch agreement that humans have have influenced our climate to our own detriment. Climate change deniers are their own special type of stupid, but CNN brought up a thoughtful point (for once): that the general public woefully misconstrues climate change and the scientific community at large because most of their exposure to “scientists” is a terrible fucking television show.
Not only does The Big Bang Theory incorrectly stereotype scientists, lack any sort of meaningful character development, rely on terrible writing and a forced laugh track.
But in general, it isn’t a show about real scientists. Physics PhDs aren’t spending their free time at comic book stores or arcades. They aren’t entirely socially inept losers. If the show was accurate, the PhDs on the show wouldn’t be relatable, white Americans. Look at this faculty directory and tell me how many Sheldon’s and Leonard’s you see. A show about reading scientific journals, developing and testing experimental hypotheses, and examining evidence to draw conclusions wouldn’t be too popular (that’s an indictment of the American public and mainstream media).
Misrepresenting the scientific community has a negative, cascading effect on very real issues that threaten our way of life. 97% of climate scientists agree that climate-warming has been influenced by human activity.
Though if you’re stupid enough to enjoy the Big Bang Theory, you likely don’t have the cognitive capacity to understand what I’m angry about.