Episode 26: Critical Thinking Instead Of Dogma With Reggie Finley
In this episode, Douglas talks to science teacher and communicator Reggie Finley about the importance of science and critical thinking especially in this time of the pandemic. Reggie also discusses his personal journey from angry atheist and host of The Infidel Guy Show to a science educator reaching out and changing the lives of his students.
1:06 Science Education
7:54 The Infidel Guy Show
13:41 Critical Thinking
He is an Atlanta native. He was host of “The Infidel Guy Show” podcast from 1999 to 2012. He’s currently a full-time Biology instructor with Ultimate Medical Academy, a full-time Visiting Professor of Biology with Valencia College, and an adjunct Professor of Science Understanding and Literacy at Franklin University. He is also a private Biology Tutor for International Students. In private and public schools, he has taught: the nature of science, life science, critical thinking, biology, chemistry, astronomy, and marine science. In his free time, he enjoys watching anime, reading non-fiction (in particular science news), conducting research, hanging out with fellow freethinkers, and studying as many science topics as he can at Alison, Coursera, EdX and Khan Academy.
If you are or were a high school science teacher and would like to help Reggie with his dissertation on critical thinking in high school science teachers then send an email to him at reggiefinleysr[at]yahoo.com
Douglas Berger: With us today is Reggie Finley. He is an Atlanta native. He was host of “The Infidel Guy Show” podcast from 1999 to 2012. He’s currently a full-time Biology instructor with Ultimate Medical Academy, a full-time Visiting Professor of Biology with Valencia College, and an adjunct Professor of Science Understanding and Literacy at Franklin University. He is also a private Biology Tutor for International Students. In private and public schools, he has taught: the nature of science, life science, critical thinking, biology, chemistry, astronomy, and marine science.
In his free time, he enjoys watching anime, reading non-fiction (in particular science news), conducting research, hanging out with fellow freethinkers, and studying as many science topics as he can at Alison, Coursera, EdX and Khan Academy. And thank you for joining us today, Reggie,
Reggie Finley: thank you so much for having me, Doug. Glad to be here
Douglas Berger: now, obviously, according to your biography, you teach biology and you teach it to people of all different ages and social backgrounds.
Reggie Finley: That’s correct? Yep. Yep. Go ahead. Well I was gonna say I was going to confirm yeah, that exactly correct. Yeah. Bob and I’ve taught ages from four all the way to 99. So
Douglas Berger: do you need to use different techniques for different groups of people that you teach?
Reggie Finley: Oh, definitely. You have to go up and down to scale.
You have to kind of meet people where they are try my best, not to leave people not everyone obviously has the same kind of background, but it really depends, especially on. The type of work that I’m doing what’s the goal? What is the desired outcome? Am I doing outreach? Things like that, but but yeah, for the most part, I try to evaluate every individual person I’m speaking with, whether it’s in a debate or in a classroom.
And I try to really meet people where they are, because it’s not about trying to impress anyone. Right. It’s all about trying to make sure that the information is being disseminated properly and is comprehensible. I’m all about science literacy and understanding. I’m trying my best not to confuse people.
Douglas Berger: and with the students that you work with, how good or how much science literacy do they have before they reach your class? Is it is a good or bad or indifferent?
Reggie Finley: I like to say I guess I could word it this way. It is not where it should be. Pretty much across the board. Many of my fellow educators would concede this at all levels where there’s, you know, middle high school collegiate.
We see the same kind of pattern where they’re coming in with many preconceived notions and it’s getting worse to do it through this disinformation age. And. They just come in with a lot of ideas that they’re picking off the internet and it doesn’t quite meld with what I’m teaching them. And I get a lot of pushback.
They think I’m either not telling the truth or lying to them, or they’ll just avoid the conversation altogether because they feel uncomfortable because they trust other resources. So that’s a constant challenge and that’s something that I am really fighting against right now. It’s a disinformation war and you know, the public is right in the middle of it, but you know, I’m in there to try my best to Fix this damage.
Douglas Berger: And I do know that people who teach science or try to communicate science, it’s important to them to reach as many people as they can. And, and to do it in a way that I guess, doesn’t make The person feel bad for not knowing it, or maybe knowing something different for you. That, that is important too.
I, I, I’m assuming that, that you teach somebody a topic or a subject that maybe they don’t understand, or they have a different idea that, but you want to do it in a way that doesn’t make them feel stupid. Is that correct?
Reggie Finley: Yeah, exactly. And it’s really all about relationship building. As an educator, you want to try your best to find out.
What actually, what commonalities do you have with that person again, especially when you’re in a classroom and model and you’re dealing with difficult students or individuals without that background, you want to try to make some kind of connection. And I think some educators kinda missed that. However, I think over the years we’ve received more and more training.
And I think a lot of educators con almost, I hope in a way kind of instinctively know this, that you have to kind of, you have to meet them where they are and you have to, and, and we, I don’t like to say in many educators kind of frown on us. We want to say, we don’t want the students to like us per se, but it helps a lot if they do that.
That’s just the reality of if they don’t like you, they shut down. And so in many respects educators, we have to almost be like performers, you know, and we have to keep thinking of ways to get their attention. And I know that when I taught here at Apopka high school here, I mean, I’m in Orlando, Florida now by the way.
And I’m Apopka, Florida and I taught at Apopka high school and the students there. You know, not, not of course, like typical teenagers, not really interested in the sciences too much. You might have a few, but I created something called the organism of the day and I tried my best to think of the most interesting, cool species that I know that the average person just doesn’t know.
And I was able to use that in my classroom as a moderating tool. So it really helped modify. And moderate their behavior and they just could not wait for that. And if they were acting up, I was going to do the organism of the day guys. Well, we go to this, you know, and they, and they police each other and, and they really liked me.
I had students come up and say, you know, you’re, you kind of are like an uncle to me. I really appreciate you and I respect you and I’ve had students say, I’m going to go into the sciences now, you know, and that was, I was really, really great to hear. So yeah. So them liking you and you having things that just really keep their interest, because one thing I I’m, I’m actually writing a book now kind of based on what I’ve learned as a high school educator.
And I’m writing a book based on my website, amazinglife.bio because in it, what happened, it never fails. Students would always. Say When we’re learning biology, like most biology teachers know they’re one of the first things you really teachers the nature of science, that’s the first thing you start talking about.
And then you kind of get into the atoms and molecules and how they make up our, our, our universe and students are just bored out of their mind. Right? They’re like, I thought we were going to talk about animals. I’m writing a book in which I do feature those aspects of it. You know, the microscopic universe and how that comes to be our reality and contributes to biological life.
But I also then bring in really interesting and cool animals. And so that’s a book I’m developing right now because I get that all the time.
Douglas Berger: Now, did I have this right? You were the creator and the host of The Infidel Guy Show?
Reggie Finley: That’s right. The Infidel Guy Show yep. Started in 1999 and it ended in 2012 or so.
And some of my former listeners and fans keep asking me to come back. But I don’t know. And my current position now, I’m, I’m focused really much more on just science education. Really is critical. Really, really is critical thinking in the public understanding of science is the big focus because if you have that foundation of questioning, critically of reflecting on your own thoughts, then you will inevitably move towards getting away from unsupported dogmas.
So I don’t need to focus so much on religion as I did in my, in my former life. I’m really just now focusing on helping to enlighten people. Using those skills most humans have, but they just need to be developed and, and that is thinking critically.
Douglas Berger: Now, did the show reach a natural conclusion or was there some change in your life that caused you to, to end it?
Reggie Finley: That’s a good question. There are a few factors that kind of, I think I was actually burned out. I have. I think I have over 500 shows still, still at theinfidelguy.com website. And they’re all, they’re all just sitting there. And I, I think I just got burned out. I kept, I got tired of hearing myself say the same kind of things.
I had the same kind of guests, same kind of debates. And it, I think I was bored and right around that same time is when the YouTube came about or they started to get rather big. And I was making some decent money through YouTube actually. They changed their payment model and it went all the way down.
It went all almost all the way down to like $0 just through YouTube. And I was so frustrated and upset with the whole thing. I just closed my channel and then I just faded away into. Obscurity, I guess with some of the younger people don’t know who I am, but a lot of the some of the old heads were there from the beginning.
They know that The Infidel Guy Show as long as well as the AFL show, which was Eric’ s… er… jake’s show. And there were a few other programs out there in the very beginning. Most of which are not around anymore, but but yeah, so I think those are the two factors. It really just boredom and just the way I could see the internet kind of evolving, I wasn’t at that stage yet where you know, I was ready to do dedicated video content and things like that.
Douglas Berger: Yeah, that was about the time that I first dabbled in podcasting was 2009, 2010. And I do remember, I don’t know if I actually watched any of your programs or not, but I knew I knew you were around. That’s why I was kind of perked my interest when, when we were talking at the conference, and you mentioned that in your information.
I did want to note though, on the show, The Infidel Guy Show’s website you, you note that the person in the recordings isn’t who you are today, correct. And you say that some of your, your views have changed. Do you have a particular example?
Reggie Finley: Yes, I am now a fundamentalist Christian, just kidding. But, but as I kinda mentioned earlier, it’s like my focus went from just being in people’s faces, so to speak. I’m almost, I, well, let me, let me start from the beginning. When I first started the infidel guys show, I was really angry. I was, I was very angry that I was duped, that I was fooled, that I was used.
I was manipulated and I was very upset that my own community, the black community turned their back on me because I no longer believe that they believed you know, I was called a traitor. I was called all of these things, but I did notice, but I was well accepted by people that were, had the same views that I did, that community accepted me.
And in fact, I was able to grow a career out of that. But I think I was still a little angry, but I ended up learning a lot in that process. A lot about religion, the history of religion and why people believe what they believe. I eventually ended up earning a, my first degree was in human development.
Took it took full advantage of that to learn more about the human brain and how it works and why people act the way they do. And honestly, I think I became a little bit more sympathetic and a little more empathetic to how people believe what they believe. And I just started losing interest in battling people about their beliefs.
It just became irrelevant. And especially as I became just more science minded. As I began to learn more about the sciences, that just became a focus. So when I talk about the, the new me, so to speak, I’m just someone now who is just more interested in improving the world through the reason critical thinking humanism plus and, and more religion.
Keep your religion, just keep it out of my schools, keep it off my lawn, keep it out of politics. And. Just peachy. So that’s pretty much how I am now. And I honestly, I think I suffer from quite a bit of Dunning Kruger effect when I was, when I first began. And I think I, I became more humble over the years.
I realized that the more I learned, I, I began to discover that I really didn’t know much of anything. And that gave me some time and I’m glad I’m I kind of ended to show her around 2012 and it gave me some time to reflect on my own limitations. What I need to learn, what skills I need to gain and how can I better impact our global community.
And I went back to school and when I went back to school, I earned my master’s in science communication, and then another master’s in biology. And I then began to feel like, oh, wow, I really don’t know anything now, but but you know what, but yeah, so that I forgot where I was going with that thought. But, but yeah. So now here I am.
Douglas Berger: Okay. Yeah, it’s just very interesting. I know that when I first got involved with humanism I, I knew I was an atheist first. And, but I had other ideas about the world and, and human problems and how to solve them. And I just never found atheist to fulfill. How to, how to find those solutions, right?
Because mostly it just deals with the God question. Exactly. That’s all it does. That’s all it really does. And so then you need to take the next step. Well, you don’t believe in God now, what now? What do you do exactly right. And I could never find myself. I can’t hate people. I feel, I feel for them, I have empathy, compassion.
So that’s why humanism is just perfect for me. A perfect worldview for me is because I take that that empathy and compassion and try to help people in my community. No matter what, if they’re believers or not. I know I’ve, I’ve helped people like that. Exactly. And, and so, but when I first started, I was like, you, I was kind of angry about it.
You know, wanting to debate people right. And left. Right. And it just got to the point where I just, I got tired of it because I, because I knew I wasn’t going to change their minds now. That’s not the only reason why I did it. You know, it was always, they talk about the people on the sidelines. Right or watching it.
So I think it’s important. There’s an important place for shows like yours and, and, and they, and so I re I kind of reject this idea that. People that don’t believe should be meek and mild and, and not challenge the believers. I think that’s total BS. It has its place for sure. Right. So, I mean, there’s different types of people, but yeah, it wasn’t, for me, it just was not something, you know, it’s like, why, why would I want to debate that?
That Christian Guy, he’s, he’s going to just make the same ridiculous arguments and, and I’m going to tear him down, but nobody’s going to believe me.
Reggie Finley: Right.
Douglas Berger: It’s just like, I want to do that. So, yeah, I think it’s great. And, and part of also part of humanism. You know, you change your views when you are exposed to new information.
Reggie Finley: So that’s exactly the definition. I think of our, you know, critically thinking open-minded person would do. And I love the, I love the comp the combine, those, because one can be open-minded, but you don’t have a critical filter. So I’d like to say, you know, critical thinking open-minded person w would do that.
And that’s something I try to instill in my students as well as to be okay with being incorrect or not knowing something. That’s how you learn. Right. And you know, and don’t beat yourself up about it. It can be, it can feel embarrassing, but you should look at it as in being empowering, because now you can, you gain new knowledge, and you can do something with that.
And so in fact, you know, so back to the debating thing, right? So on LinkedIn lately, I’ve been really debating quite a bit. Even though I need to be working on my dissertation, but I’ve been because there’s a lot of scientific, disinformation about there, about a variety of different medical treatments.
There are a lot of fake false studies out there and websites. Make claims that just aren’t true. And they can have 300 studies claiming that a certain treatment works, and it just does not. So anyway, so, so some people like to bake cookies, but you know, I like to debate people on LinkedIn. And back to your point about, and the reason why I’m do that, because see people ask me, why do you do that?
Why are you debating. I thought you were kind of done with that as well. I’m really talking to the people, watching, I’m talking to the people on the sidelines, people who are don’t have their minds made up. They don’t really know they want access to the right information. I’m talking to them. And in many respects, I’m just kind of using that individual.
That’s attacking me as a conduit to allow me to get out that information that they need to get so that they can make more informed decisions.
Douglas Berger: Yeah. I tend to do that on Facebook. Is I will somebody, a friend of mine, maybe they’re conservative? I don’t know. They’ll, they’ll make some wild claim and, and I’ll find the resources and debunk it.
And a lot of times they’ll complain to me. Why are you coming on my page and challenging me? Know, I’m like and I have to explain, I said, well, it’s nothing personal. It’s just you’re wrong. Exactly.
Reggie Finley: And it, you said something incorrect, and you need to be addressed.
Douglas Berger: And I said, you have other people that are reading your page and I don’t want them to get the wrong idea either.
Reggie Finley: Exactly. Right. I mean, it’s funny because I’m actually vegan. Right. So I call myself, I am a humanist, but I like to say humanist plus plus. So I actually include, you know, other non-human animals. When I think of, you know, caring about others and caring about, and trying to make this world a better place for, for all sentient beings.
But I get beat up quite a bit and some forms especially, you know, vegan forums and when vegan means come out and if it’s wrong, I say something, if it’s just not true, I’m one of, and, and, and inevitably someone will come up and say, why don’t you just go along with it? It’s just, just going on with the feeling and the flow of what were the main purpose.
Even though, I agree with you in spirit, you’re just scientifically incorrect. And I just have to correct this meme. It’s just not right. And so, so it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a challenge, but it has to be done. You know, whether it’s some people can’t do that, right. It’s like you, you take one side and you’re all in.
And no matter what that side says, because you identify with that side, some people just keep going with it, even though they don’t agree, but they feel forced to because no, I’m identifying as disagree. I guess I have to go along with this. Yeah.
Douglas Berger: And then I’ll have people, you know, ask me later. Why, why do you put yourself through this?
And it’s like, well, I got my start on usenet back in the day. And, and so I learned, that’s how I refined my beliefs is by being challenged by other people and having to argue in a lot of people, they just don’t want to do that anymore. It’s right. You know, I have I host another podcast that I. For myself about politics.
And it is so hard for me to get people to come on, to talk about politics because they don’t want to deal with it. Right. And it’s like, well, you have to, because that’s, that’s one of the things about being a citizen in this country is you have to be involved in politics somehow. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead.
Reggie Finley: I noticed that you said you have beliefs in your, in you’re comfortable with that term. Some, some people aren’t, if you could claim to be an atheist, for instance, they just really cringe when you want me to say, well, I have beliefs. They don’t like that.
Douglas Berger: Right? Well, I’m yeah, I’m not I try to avoid most God talk like spirit.
I do not like the word spirit. It’s meaningless really, it’s meaningless. And, and, and people will say, well, can’t you have don’t you can’t you admire a beauty and awe? And I said, well, yeah, I can. Yeah. Right. I don’t need religion to do that. So yeah, I do that. I try to, yeah.
Reggie Finley: And it’s a spiritual experience in many respects.
Douglas Berger: Right. But I don’t, you know, I just don’t normally use that, that term there’s other terms for it. Right.
Reggie Finley: And, and kind of where I was going with that is like, beliefs are perfectly fine. Like once when someone says, you know, what do you believe? And that’s what I like about humanism because it gives you an opportunity to actually express what you believe.
And one of the differences with, with science scientific based beliefs as well with some people cringe on like, how can science have beliefs? You can have beliefs in science. Now you might have an informed belief, or you have, you may have a perspective or belief or you accept something based on the evidence.
I try not to cringe away from beliefs when somebody says, well, you have beliefs too. And I guess this is just a debate point for some people listening. If someone ever accuses you of having beliefs, you should be proud of that. And just say, yeah, I do. But my beliefs are based on the preponderance of the evidence.
And if, even if they’re not you can at least justify it in some kind of way. Whereas some other groups who can’t, when they’re beholden onto some dogma and that’s what I was gonna mention as well. But I look at humanism, I look at humanism as being looking at humans before dogma, whenever humans. Are unnecessarily injured in some way, because of dogma, the dogma has to change.
We have to go back and look at whatever it is. If, whether it’s scientific, whereas theological political, when humans are unnecessarily harmed, something’s wrong with the dogma and you have to go back and look at that and see what it is. If it’s something that we’re acting upon, I’m not talking about some axiomatic scientific principle, but just something we’ve put in practice that can harm you.
Douglas Berger: And we mentioned this or you mentioned us at the, towards the beginning here that you’re involved with amazinglife.bio. And what, what is that site and what, what’s the goal? What’s your plan for what you want to do with it?
Reggie Finley: Really good question. I actually amazinglife.Bio is a product of my teaching, my high school kids, and I needed, I at first I just had a series of PowerPoint.
That I was using and I had like 365 organisms on a PowerPoint. And I would just go through those, you know, throughout the, throughout, throughout the year. And of course I knew that we weren’t really in school with 365 days a year, but I just wanted to make sure I had enough material. But and the students and I started and I realized I had too many, I needed to put them someplace.
That’d be easier to access. So I created amazingliefe.Bio. And then that is where I just started putting all of my organisms and now teachers access them and they present them to their students. And it’s just really a way again. Get people really interested in animals or, or, or really organisms where there’s plants, fungi Protus and more complex organisms.
That’s what that site is all about. And in the future I was really looking at some homeschool organizations thinking maybe they can take advantage of it. But I am creating a book as I mentioned earlier, based on this site. So there’s going to be a book. That’s going to go along with it. And I’m bringing on some other writers who are going to contribute to it.
And I’m actually considering making a vodcast or video. Based on that as well, but I’m also heavily involved with healthandsciencefacts.com, which is one of my spin off sites. I started writing about COVID 19 disinformation on amazing life.bio. It didn’t seem to really fit very well. So I created health and science facts.com.
And then there, I started addressing a lot of them. The myths, the most popular article right now is the bill gates is putting in microchips in vaccines with, I think with all with almost 8,000 views right now. And I do get hate mail periodically saying I’m closed-minded and stupid. And I’m a sheep. And you know, when I start hearing radio signals, I’ll know why, but, but, but yeah, so I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m heavily involved in a lot of things and honestly, Sometimes I don’t, I don’t even know where I’m going with it all.
I know. I just want to do the best I can to just put the information out there and try to change the world. One person at a time.
Douglas Berger: I look back during this whole pandemic and, and I know it’s still ongoing and I imagine how much better we might have come through it. If we relied on the science. Oh, yeah. Rather than the politics and emotions.
Reggie Finley: Yeah. Right. And there’s a concerted effort though, to destroy too well… so go ahead. Finish your thought.
Douglas Berger: Yeah. Yeah, you’re pretty much going where I’m going with it. Right. There’s a, an effort to pretty much destroy that. Right. You know, we’ve had the perfect examples here in Ohio where.
They had some woman that claimed to be a doctor saying that she was magnetized, or people were magnetized when they took the vaccine. Right. And things like that. So what I wanted to ask you is how important is science to you? And do you think it is important to our world today?
Reggie Finley: Yup. It was good, but but no it was well, let me back up, first of all, that, that, that woman with the magnetize, spot where she got her shot actually have an article at healthandsciencefacts.com about that.
And I mean, science is very important. Of course, to me personally, I mean, it’s more than just my profession, you know, someone argue, oh, well, you know, since you work in the sciences, you’re going to defend science, no matter what. I’ve been accused of being a religious follower of scientism. Right, right.
For instance. Yeah. I’ve heard that. Yeah, no, not at all. I just, I just believe in evidence you give me the evidence so I can make the better decisions and I’m like, shouldn’t you want that too? No matter what your background is, you should want the best evidence. And, and that’s really my position. And I think it is important that this is that’s society.
Has. And I’m going to try to answer this as objectively as possible. We see the impacts of what is occurring when society does not have at least a basic understanding of general scientific principles. If there was any, a better argument. That the national academies of science or the NSF or any of these other organizations that we need more science.
What we’re going through right now proves this absolutely. That the public’s lack of understanding science is harming us. They have no defensive capabilities when they come across this information. They had just absorbed things based on. Ignorance really. They don’t. And of course, and fear and emotionalism that’s, what’s driving it.
So the public definitely could benefit from a hell of a lot more science and critical thinking, not less. And I would argue really critical thinking, but maybe even supersede science, but you still need that foundation to base that from otherwise your critical thinking would just be limited, With respect to evidence and and, and knowledge critical thinking helps. It’s not the end all be all.
Douglas Berger: Yeah. And, and you mentioned that about being accused of worshiping science and scientism. And I always have to stress to friends of mine that science scientists are human. They can make mistakes, they can they can get all this data. Yeah. Just muck it up indeed. And it’s happened and, or the data is there or it’s true. And, but the outcome of what you do next is something that we don’t want to do,
Reggie Finley: right. Or are we misinterpreting the results or things like that. Right.
Douglas Berger: And the perfect example I use when I’m talking to people about humanism, because humanists made this mistake as well, is eugenics. You know, and it was questionable.
It was based on shoddy research. But that they had gone to the extreme that they thought that if we just got rid of the feeble-minded, we’d have a better, better people. You know, and on the surface. That seems reasonable
Reggie Finley: to say right when I feel like a bad person. Right. But I think everybody has had a thought once in her life.
If everybody just thought a little bit more like me, this is going to be a better place. Even if people minded, quote, quote, unquote, have thought the same thing. So.
Douglas Berger: And so they had these, these wacky studies that they based this information on and they just made a big science about it. People call it some, sometimes people call it like social Darwinism, social
Reggie Finley: Darwinism.
Douglas Berger: Right. And unfortunately, That, that literature and that thinking then was adopted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis to justify what they did.
Reggie Finley: Right. I mean, and, and, and it’s like, I mean, again, people take, even if it’s, even if the scientific principle is true, it doesn’t mean that one needs to, carry it out to the most evil, extreme that can consider.
And people don’t think about things like that. I mean we’re, we’re headed towards a kind of perfect society already. If we can afford it. It just depends with, you know, genetic tech, you know, genetic engineering. Eventually we will have the technology, whether or not access to it will be, will be.
Occurring. But eventually we are going to get to the place where we will be able to just custom design our children’s eye color. You know there may be laws passed to try to prevent this, but the technology is going to be so easy to obtain. It’d be difficult to stop. There have to be a lot of laws in place, but we are getting to the point where we will be able to create humans.
that have Genetic defenses, you know resistance against various diseases and things like that. And we have no idea the future, you know, what’s going to happen, but it does seem like, I think by and by large, most humans kind of have this idea that we want to live long. We want to be healthy. And one way to do that is by eliminating disease and eliminating genetic diseases.
Will that make us more. Maybe to some degree. But it wouldn’t be wiping out as fish species. It’s just evolved because you can just say it’s just evolving us as humans.
Douglas Berger: Yeah. See, and that, that’s the thing. I mean, there’s a difference between locking up a human being and forcing, forcing them to be sterilized and taking away their rights to live as a person and tweaking a genetic code before a gamete becomes a fetus. That’s two totally separate things, right.
Reggie Finley: Only, God. And to have that ability to do this for some of the religious people some of them are secular people. They may be saying yes, but it’s too random. The assertion points. There are some issues with inserting it properly. We still don’t have the is that accurate enough?
So are we going to always have the discard embryos that they don’t want? And so there’s all of these kinds of arguments and issues and they’re aren’t all irrelevant and they all should be looked at. And considered, I don’t know about the religious argument, but it should be considered because that’s what they are concerned about, you know?
But yeah, I mean, Eventually, I, I, it’s funny, I have this conversation with my students as part of our curriculum about genetic modification and the biggest arguments they come up with is that it’s against God or unsafe. So I’d love to say, well, eventually it’s not going to be as unsafe. What if this just as Efficient or as accurate as treating a bacterial infection like 99.9% of the time it works.
So it’s considered safe at that point. Would you allow it for those who say it’s against God? I asked them, I said, well, the same thought was about antibiotics. There were some groups who were in, there were some groups, religious groups still today who would not take antibiotics. They think it’s against God. Where do you draw the line? So, yeah.
Douglas Berger: And there’s some that won’t take certain vaccines because it was developed using fetal tissue.
Reggie Finley: All right. Even though it was a tissue line, like 10, 20, 30 years ago, it doesn’t matter. Right. But they don’t know that they’re just information. Just want you to think that, you know, Pfizer is in a lab. Right. And they don’t even use fetal tissue, but anyway, but let’s say with the J and J or one of the other identifiers. Oh, they’re actively using fetuses right now. And you know, no,
Douglas Berger: that’s not how that works. Okay. Because I think they just don’t understand that actually there’s actually a framework an ethical framework that science has to follow.
And, and so, so if you find out that somebody is doing something, they shouldn’t be doing, there’s ways of stopping them.
Reggie Finley: Right, but, you know, but, but science, you know, the history of the application of science in America has been very dismal for communities for, for, for underprivileged communities. And that’s something, the reason why vaccine skepticism and hesitancy is so large in the African American community, for instance, as a course, the Tuskegee unlike to call it, it, well, it wasn’t experiment this risky experiment in which they pretty much just watched African-Americans with syphilis just degrade. I mean, they’re just, they just, they just watch their health deteriorate. And of course in our community, many African-Americans think it, they actually gave us syphilis, but that’s not what happened. They were actually just watching us. But, but regardless that, that fear of government is one reason why vaccine hesitancy is actually, I’m surprised more.
African-Americans got the vaccine considering how many how this meme is going around and is. But, but I hear it all the time. I hear it every day, every day from members of my community that, you know, you can’t trust the government. This is what they did in the past. How do we know they’re not putting something in these vaccines and it’s a legitimate argument, right?
Douglas Berger: Yeah. It is. It’s, it’s something to keep, keep aware of. And definitely I tell people that I said, you know, You know, even if you don’t understand the science, at least keep an eye out on what’s going on.
Reggie Finley: Exactly. And once again, that’s why science is so important. So, so now, and I think what I use is when I’m educating people, I tend to give them a little bit of fact, but also use a Socratic method of argumentation.
And that is really kind of helping lead individuals. Like as far as they’re, they’re really leading themselves, you’re just asking them questions to see if their thoughts are internally consistent. They need to see. And so I love asking that like, when they say, oh, you know, bill gates is doing this, or, you know, the government is putting this in a vaccine, ask him how, where at what point in the process does this occur?
Why do I, and why and why, and how is that going to benefit the capitalist? Why, you know, one thing people always talk about population control and all of these things. I said, why would major organizations that benefit off people? Buying these products have something to do with their demise. I mean, this really think about this, you know, I think they don’t want to kill as many people as you think, if any, because that would cut into their profits.
Are you really sure you thought this all the way out? But yeah, but getting people to just really think more. Well, you know introspectively, reflectively, question, their own thinking. That’s what really helps not really poking people in the chest and telling them you’re wrong. You’re wrong. You’re wrong.
Just keep asking them the, the basics that we’ve learned in elementary school. Right? The who, what, when, where, why and how? I think. Allow people to be the experts they think they are. And you just kind of ask them these basic questions through that process, they start realizing they don’t know as much as they thought they did.
And then that is when you can start offering more information. But I think what if we beat people up too much, they’re just going to shut down and we don’t get anywhere as you know, science educators.
Douglas Berger: Right. What I wanted to do as we kinda wrap up today I’d like to hand the mic over to the guests.
And if you have any final words that you’d like us to know or, or projects to plug, I know you’ve plugged a lot, but if you want to, if you want to do it again, you can. And just go ahead and and let us know what you think we need to know.
Reggie Finley: Well I don’t really have much out there really. I am currently working on my dissertation on critical thinking in high school science teachers.
If you’re interested in maybe helping me with the study, I would appreciate it. Shoot me an email to Reggie Findley senior at Yahoo and that’s R E G G I E. F as in Frank, F I N L E Y S R for firstname.lastname@example.org and if your’re interested in participating in my study now, even if you’re a recent past science teacher in high school, reach out to me as well.
Again, we’re just looking at critical thinking aptitudes and how that may translate over into pedagogy. I would appreciate it and visit my websites. Please add me on LinkedIn. If you’d like to just look for Reginald Finley on LinkedIn, you’ll see me. I’m the black guy in a lab coat with the bacteria phage on my shoulder.
That’s my mascot. Faigy you’ll see him. And that’s really it. Like I said, I think I plugged everything else and it was a pleasure being on the program. And I hope that the listeners got something out of this. I, I know I had a good time.
[Transcript also available for offline reading HERE]
Written, produced, and edited by Douglas Berger and he is entirely responsible for the content. Incidental voice overs by Shawn Meagley
The GCH theme is “Glass City Jam” composed using Ampify Studio
This episode by Glass City Humanist is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.