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  • Renee Kashuba

We have a science problem

America has a serious science problem. When did "belief" in science become optional? Maybe a very long time ago, if we consider the Scopes trial (1925). Maybe our fierce sense of independence is more properly thought of as a desire to believe whatever we want, regardless of evidence. We're watching this play out in dramatic fashion as folks around the country refuse to wear masks, with disastrous results. Dr. Anthony Fauci, this nation's grown-up in chief, speaking on CNN assessed that "there is a general anti-science, anti-authority, anti-vaccine feeling among some people in this country -- an alarmingly large percentage of people, relatively speaking." And now nearly 1 in 100 Americans have tested positive for the virus (and likely countless more have remained asymptomatic and undetected), with that number skyrocketing daily.

While I've come to think of this response as uniquely American, I have to admit it appears to be more widespread. CNN reports a similar resistance to masks in Britain, and Vice reported a few violent passengers attacked a bus driver in France after he insisted he wear masks as required, resulting in his death. Perhaps most notably to me, The World Health Organization has remained in denial about the method of spread of the virus until 239 scientists demand they reconsider. WHO should be our most reliable international source of scientific fact, and yet they could not address what has been evident for months: the virus is primarily transmitted through the air. And new analyses suggest that our behavior trumps summer heat and may even affect herd immunity when considering the spread of the virus. What we think -- and what we do based on those beliefs -- matters to us all.

What are we to do with this? Our current health crisis brings our American split with scientific reasoning into sharp contrast, but that is largely due to the immediacy of the danger and the rapidly changing health landscape. The same thought trend is at work in climate change, environmental health, economic growth, agriculture, public health, energy sustainability, social and racial justice, and myriad areas of public policy. We can see where we're headed, the science is clear, and yet we ignore it, because we have the right to. That's not a right, that's actually willful relinquishing our rights. We choose the confines of a damaged environment and the tyranny of a disastrous economy and inequity, because we will not accept science and facts.

I spent 20 years as a medical writer, where science was king. You could not write a sentence without scientific evidence and support for it -- and documentation to bolster the claim. As a nation -- and perhaps as a world -- we need a new understanding of science. Maybe even a love, an adoration, for science.

This Week's Recipe

A return to simpler tastes, and a very simple recipe for an appetizer or even dessert. And I just love to take advantage of summer strawberries.

Strawberries and Mozzarella

8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

8 best strawberries, sliced

1-2 tsp 25-year aged balsamic

Mint and berries for garnish

Splay strawberries on top of cheese and drizzle with droplets of balsamic. Do not drench! A little goes a long way. Drizzle the fruit and mint with a tiny bit, too.

Alternative: Quarter or halve strawberries and cut mozzarella in 3/4-inch chunks. Spear on short skewer (cheese, then strawberry on the end, at an angle, so that the whole thing rests with the spear handle up for easy grabbing). Arrange on platter and drizzle with balsamic.

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