Social Sciences More Important Now than Ever

In this very well-reasoned piece by Lance R. Collins, Cornell’s Dean of Engineering, compelling reasons are given for why the National Science Foundation should not cut funding for the social sciences, as it is unfortunately doing. These reasons include the need to continue studying the way social media interactions are changing global governments, cultures, and activism,  how much we have yet to learn about how humans interact in commerce, and how much archaeology has to offer about why cultures thrive and fail.

As a social science researcher, this is disturbing. To add to Prof. Collins’s list, what about research waiting to be done on the connections between our health and environment-related behaviors and perceptions? What about the ongoing crucial studies being done on psychological and behavioral responses to climate change? And what about the inspiring field of Biomimicry for Social Innovation, which promises sustainable solutions for people and planet?

We cannot, and must not, give in to false dichotomies and value natural sciences and technology more than social sciences – it would be a grave mistake. Both are important.

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