Yes, I broke the original link, but that has since been link. Because no one knows how to cite and circumvent obscure made-up internet rules like I do.

And maybe this Titel got your attention.

Hi, I'm Cinders. Maybe We Haven't Met.

First of all, allow me to introduce myself. I'm an old-hat Fanpopper who joined this site at the tender age of nineteen. I was an open-minded college student at the time, looking for a place to geek out about things I love. One thing I loved was Debatte and discourse. I loved hearing multiple sides and perspectives to arguments, because I know there's always a side I haven't considered, always facts I don't yet know, and always experiences I've never had that other people know about well.

I talk a lot, but I Liebe to listen more. Du probably wouldn't think that about me, considering all my verbose Kommentare and posts. But it's true.

I used to consider myself a solid liberal, with centerist leanings in the name of compromise and progress. In other words, I had strongly held beliefs, but I knew that my counterparts on the other side of the aisle also had good reasons for holding their own opposite strongly held beliefs. And Mehr important than our differences was our need to understand each other and work together.

This attitude made me the moderate in a crowd of liberals, always arguing devil's advocate, jumping to the defense of whichever group was being criticized. I did it because it was important to remember that "the other side" are human beings, too, with their own reasons for believing what they believe.

In other words, I believed in empathy over all else. I had sympathy for George W. busch and Barack Obama. I had criticisms with both presidents as well. I Liebe many democrats but also respect and admire several republicans, including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Colin Powell, and many more. I am used to keeping a calm, level head and responding in a measured way.

I am a liberal, but I believe in discourse, common ground, and compromise. And I have never felt Mehr outraged and polarized than I currently do.

So What's Changed?

It's not Trump, if that's what you're thinking. I mean... to an extent it is, but it goes much deeper than that. It goes to people in power (and out of it) denying the work of scientists and doctors. It goes to people in power denying the experiences shared Von oppressed people. It goes to people in power calling journalists with masters degrees and years of ethics classes "fake news." It goes to people, in power and out of it, denying the expert opinions of experts. Denying the facts. Thinking they know better than people who have dedicated their lives to the subject.

On Climate Change

link: The consensus among international scientists is that climate change is a thing that exists. There is documented data and link that supports that this is actually happening. Mehr than that, link of all scientists believe that human beings are influencing climate change, and the only reason the other 3% don't is because it's always good to have a small among of skepticism ABOUT ANYTHING. For example, I'm pretty sure that 3% of scientists don't believe in GRAVITY. Du know, just in case everyone else is wrong. (Note: I have no Quelle for this. I'm using it as a rhetorical device, in case someone tries to challenge my "facts".)

Despite this, link of congressional republicans, which is 34% of congress, do not believe in climate change, oder at least man's effect on climate change. These numbers are from 2013, Von the way, but they haven't changed much.

Those republicans claim that scientists are only pretending it's a real thing because they want to keep getting funding for their research. Because, Du know, that's why scientists science. For the grant money.

Of the 69,406 papers published in peer reviewed journals in 2013-2014, four rejected human-caused climate change. Peer-reviewed denial of the effect is practically link. And what about those other artciles denying climate change Du may have seen sourced on Facebook? Well, Mehr than 90% of "scientific papers" denying climate change link Talk about agendas!

On GMOs

This is not a uniquely republican problem, though. Liberals have their fair share of bullshit science denying, too. Consider the GMO debate, for instance.

link of scientists find no Mehr safety risks with GMO oder Genetically Engineered (GE) foods than with organically grown produce. Regardless, from that same Pew study I just linked, only 37% of the American public seem to agree with the scientists on that.

Obviously, a healthy skepticism of GE foods is expected (3% of scientists don't believe in gravity, remember? #rhetorical). And Mehr research could be done that contradicts the tens of thousands of papers that have already been published. But in the mean time, I'm going to go make a salat out of my GE tomatoes and in all likelihood not get cancer from it.

I could link Du to link, but I'll just leave this nicely-sourced link written Von a Cornell scientist instead.

But what's congress wasting time on now? How about passing a link GMO labeling law that nobody really likes.

Because, fuck peer review, amirite?

On Vaccines

It's not just climate scientists and biologists having their doctorates ripped up Von laymen and politicians. It's medical scientists, too! Du know, the ones with MEDICAL doctorates.

The good news is, link. 76% of democrats, 69% of republicans, and 65% of independent voters believe that children should be required to get vaccinations. That's in line with the scientific consensus on vaccines. link believe so firmly in the safety of vaccines that they think it should be mandatory for everyone.

Despite that, Du have link and link making baseless statements about vaccines causing mental disorders and autism.

Mehr than that, scientists emphasize the importance of link. This is the idea that if everyone who is healthy enough to be vaccinated is, then it will better protect those who are too young, too old, oder with immune disorders from being exposed to the bugs in the first place. Basically, herd immunity means that if a baby doesn't have her shots yet because she's too young, she'll still be safe. Since all the people who are interacting with her have had their vaccines, it would be impossible for the baby to even be exposed to these deadly pathogens in the first place.

Unfortunately, herd immunity breaks down when the entire "herd" isn't vaccinated because of some well-intended but uneducated notion of personal freedom. And then Du get people like link (Yup, again) and link promoting the anti-vaccine movement as a pro-freedom movement. That is dangerous, because it emboldens people into thinking that their choices don't have consequences for others. And then Du end up with a measles outbreak in link.

On Education

It's not just science we deny, either, oder those who dedicate their lives to it. We also don't respect the expertise of teachers and educators.

I've seen a lot of talk lately about Betsy DeVos and abolishing the Department of Education. Every single expert I know, including the education journals and podcasts I subscribe to knows what we need to do in order to better support our students. We've been telling our representatives for years, and we are ignored. Instead, we have pundits, think tanks, businessmen, partisan media outlets, and politicians telling us that they know best about our nation's education.

When I introduced myself, I mentioned that I was a nineteen Jahr old student when I joined this site, curious about the world and the people in it. That was ten years ago. Since then, I have obtained my BA in English and Drama, my Masters in Teaching, joined the Peace Corps and served in Ethiopia, taught in a private Muslim school, and taught in a public school in Washington State. I have studied education policy for seven years, in detail, and I have lived it through my career.

And with all that, I try and engage people in Debatte about education. I think, I learned all about climate change, vaccines, and GMOs Von listening to people who are Mehr knowledgeable than me. Their expertise changed my mind in some cases. Maybe I can help to educate others.

Allow me to give an example of a conversation I have with others who are not educators about education. It's an amalgam of many conversations I've had over the years, but many things are typical.

I want to engage in discourse. I want to use my expertise to help educate others, respectfully, of course. I sit down at a tabelle with someone who says, "School choice sounds like a great idea!" and try and explain what that really means. I unpack all the buzz words and the implications of proposed policies. I try and give my input on how we can reform education, and why the politicians have it wrong.

This supporter of school choice nods, and responds in a respectful tone that she disagrees. She explains her side of the story, and I sit there biting my tongue so as not to interrupt. When she's done, she says, "But we can agree to disagree." As if her opinion holds the same weight as mine. As if my Masters degree and six years experience in the educational field are equal to her intuition and logical deduction.

So What You're Saying, Cinders, Is That You've Become Close-Minded?

Not at all. But I can see how Du might reach that conclusion. I'm saying that a healthy amount of skepticism is important (#GravityTruthers). I'm saying that discourse still matters. I'm saying that yeah, I might be wrong, even about education, even about my chosen field.

But a layperson's opinion does not hold equal weight to an expert's opinion. Your opinion that GMOs SEEM dangerous is not equal to a scientist's extensive research that they aren't. Your opinion that climate change MAY not be real is not equal to 97% of scientists saying that it is. Your opinion that our public schools are failing link.

I remain open minded, and I'm willing to be challenged on my expert opinions. But only if they are presented to me Von my peers. In other words, other educators. Experts in my field, who have other research, other experience, other studies.

All I'm saying is everyone is entitled to an opinion. But not all opinions are equal.