Celebrating science

I was recently interviewed by the APA Monitor, a publication of the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA website refers to itself as:

 the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world’s largest association of psychologists, with nearly 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members.

Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

Studies of the behavior of non-human animals, often in naturalistic and laboratory settings, has been crucial to advances in psychological theory and practice. Indeed, there is virtually no part of psychology that has not be transformed by ideas and data gathered in animals. The APA outlined this point in a leaflet they distributed years ago.

One point I wanted to make very clearly during this interview had to do with the profound need to celebrate science, both as scientists and as members of the American public.

I think scientists should routinely get together and publicly celebrate what science does — not just to respond to protesters, but to show how great science is. This is something psychological and biomedical scientists should do more often: give good messages to the community about what we do.

pro-test1.jpg

We all see rallies on television, and we probably dismiss their importance as pomp and bluster. But if we don’t get together to publicly celebrate science and what it has accomplished, who will? And, more importantly, how will our children know to celebrate it.

I think a call for world-wide rallies to celebrate scientific research, particularly biomedical and behavioral research involving animals, is long overdue. What do you think?

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