Scott (zthulu) wrote in pave_the_planet,

The Church of Science

Pastor Ted went to Colorado with a vision. This vision brought God to the masses like it's never been done before. Hundreds of thousands flocked to him because it was something they wanted to hear, packaged in a modern, flashy way.

It is time for the antithesis of New Life. It is time for the Church of Science -- a tribute to reason and reality.

The "church", however, cannot be called such. Nor can any of its teachings be distributed in a condescending way (no matter how tempting).

What is needed is a reasoned but fun way to reach kids and adults alike teaching about not just the origins, but the makeup of the world.

We will produce a series of multimedia experiences showing just how cool the makeup of the universe really is. We can take existing papers and just make them fun, to attract people to this side of the pendulum.

In addition, we can provide products to fund the project. I am starting to design a poster showing an object in all levels of magnification, from original, to molecular, to atomic, to quarks, and finally strings -- with corresponding tables and explanations along the way. It would be great for bedrooms and classrooms alike.

How many times a day do you see someone with a big ol' gold cross around their necks? Why not create a gold jewelry line based on atoms, quarks, or strings? (Or even FSM.)

Most importantly, remember -- we are always teaching by example. Showing constructively the way of the real world is far more effective than bad-mouthing others.

I don't think each of us helping out in our spare time will be enough. I'd like to form an actual company to do it. Perhaps funded by the NSF. Does anyone know anybody over there?

This can be done, it can be fun, it can educate the masses, and eventually, we can make it our vocation. What do you think?
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I agree on all fronts, adn this is essentialyl exactly what I had in mind here (though have unfortunately had zero time in the last couple of weeks to think much about).

Yes, the idea is to make not just the facts of science interesting to kids, but to make the process interesting. Science is, more than anything else, a way of looking at the universe - testing it, questioning it, being fascinated by and interested in really learning about every little aspect of it, and ultimately accepting nothing as a given. This is ultimately what we want to foster, this way of lookign at things. Question authority, on a very basic level. And yes, you're right, we can't do much with it in the rare dribs and drabs of our spare time, especially given that none of us really has much of that at the moment.

A company is a good idea. I'd like to eventualyl end up doign children's books, maybe resurrecting children's programming along the liones of shows like "Big Blue Marble" and "3..2..1.. Contact", which I know got me into science in the first place. Personally I'd like to be able to subtly slag religion as a concept, but I understand that's risky and I'd belikely to be overruled there...

I don't know anyone at the NSF or any similar organization, but I might know people who know people. I know a few folks who are fairly heavily involved in the SF fandom world, who often have close ties to real science, I'll ask around.

I will; admit I know nothing about starting a company, be it a for-profit or not=-for-profit (which I see this as being).
Ugh... I'm about 3 degrees from a linguist at NSF and know people who've been denied funding by the agency! Seriously, NSF funding is dictated by politics and will not likely support us. Consider private donations and self-funding more likely.

Why don't we start with a Café Press store right away, maybe earn a dollar or two toward the project in the process. Come up with a cool symbol, a slogan, a cartoon character.

The big question -- how can we use the company to support bigger goals, give back to the community in practical ways (hire students traditionally underserved by higher ed science and give them the training they need to get to college? offer scholarships, etc., once we get funding?

The slightly smaller question -- how can we be truly compelling? There are hundreds of science museums, nature/environmental ed centers (like Alley Pond), etc. in the country that tend to be used only for school trips and by folks like us. That hasn't drawn people in. What's going to get John Quick's grandkids to give up the illusion of an afterlife and their Xboxes for science? A minority will never bend, but there's a big old apathetic majority (like Melissa and friends), more interested in JLo that *might* be accessible. Celebrity endorsements anyone?

Let's expand this planet-paving circle... who else would be interested? Need fundraisers, writers, designers, like-minded people with disposable income, etc. We could eventually hire the FSM guy so he doesn't have to go to Vegas.
Random thoughts:

Do you think you could put the ASL Fingerspelling site back up (perhaps on Signling -- maybe you could teach me how to maintain it)? You could put any other educational tools (or ads for them, anyway) up there.

If you have a good poster (and good software), I bet you could get a couple of physicists to endorse it and sell it into school systems.

Come up with a logo, a project name (get a domain)... make t-shirts and get Stuyvesant students to run around the city wearing them.

Set up a contest -- best science poster (elementary, middle, and high school entries) wins money or a computer or something.