Ok, so I’ve got a very simple “science experiment” for you. Just three simple steps.
Step 1: Watch this video:
Very cool, huh?
Breath-taking graphics. Intriguing plotline. Compelling, authoritative voice–with enthusiasm and accent to boot. Heart strings are pulled. The underdog–or, the under-wolf, in this case–wins.
So much for step 1. Ready for step 2?
Step 2: Skim this article from The New York Times, entitled, “Is the Wolf a Real American Hero?”
Step 3: Read one of the comments from the article, which I have cut and pasted immediately below:
“I was aware before this well constructed article that the ‘wolf-elk-aspen’ cascade did not hold up. I think it DOES matter “whether it’s true or not”; I was appalled at the recent uninformed revival of the myth.
“There is a creature under attack here, that we very desperately need to understand and defend, for the well-being of our own species.
“I like wolves just fine–but ‘Science’ – is currently far more endangered. This story makes an excellent teaching tool–with many lessons all young scientists, and all citizens, need to know. A) Projecting your pre-existing beliefs onto data is not likely to reveal valid findings. B) Confirming findings with additional studies is critical to understanding. And more.
“I would love to see Yale Forestry adopt a new t-shirt. ‘Save The Science!’ Perhaps on a background of wolf, elk, beaver, and aspen. That could kick off a lot of useful conversations.”
So there you go. I don’t know about you, but I completely bought into the video. And I sent the link to my extended family, all of whom live in Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park. My brother-in-law very kindly pointed me to The New York Times article.