Do not send prayers. Send SCIENCE.Posted: October 4, 2011
Yesterday my wonderful, amazing feline companion died of feline infectious peritonitis, a horrible disease that caused neurological malfunction among other things.
There is no treatment and no cure for this condition. When your cat has it, you say your goodbyes and call the vet for a home visit before the seizures and other symptoms come on too badly and all the beautiful things about her succumb.
I started thinking about how a lot of the social response around me to various medical events is to think good thoughts or pray, and for me as an atheist and an activist, I find this offensive. Not because I don’t appreciate the good thoughts – I do! – but because they do not get us any closer to a cure, and what I want is to be sure that no other cat ever has to die the way mine did today.
Prayer does not get us this. Prayer relies on the hope of the existence of a compassionate god magically fixing my cat. Without arguing about the existence of god, it didn’t happen, not with her or with the last cat. And it’s cool if you want to pray and you feel that gives you something, but I feel that what I want is something more solid: what I want is more science.
I want more science education. I want women to feel like they can go into the sciences. I want kids to understand basic scientific principles.
I want this so one of them can grow up and find a cure for the horrible disease that took my sweet, loving cat’s life. And a cure for the horrible disease that took my previous cat’s life, and the disease that killed my mother, and the one that makes me queen of the sinus infections, and the one that keeps three of my friends on insulin, and many other unpleasant diseases.
Many others. If there were a god that allowed us to die like this, to lose each other like this when a mere whim or prayer could change that, heaven would be not having to wait in line to kick his ass.
Email your reps. Call them. Hell, you can tweet at them now – 140 characters isn’t too little room to say “please fund science so we have scientists and doctors” or “please fund science education, science is for everyone!”
I want my vet or my cardiologist or whoever to be the smartest kids in the room, not the kids with the richest parents. In order to get there, we must fund science at the lower levels and at every level.