By Dave Andrusko
As we end another week of exciting pro-life news, I got to thinking about an article I once read at Inside Higher Education headlined “Snapshot Dissertation.”(I had an intuition what the subject matter might be about and sure enough so it was.) In nine paragraphs, I hope to show you why it speaks to us.
Duke University has what reporter Colleen Flaherty describes as an initiative to “forge connections between academics and other community members.” It’s called Scholars and Publics and the hope (as I understand it) is to find a common language by which the scholarly community and the rest of us can “talk.” It’s starting in the sciences, but the intent is to spread across all disciplines.
One component is for graduate students to be able to encapsulate their dissertations in a 30-60-second video. I don’t think this is a variation of the idea that if you can’t explain something orally, you don’t really understand it, although it could be.
The objective, we read, is to “teach [students] to imagine explaining what they’re learning to their parents or grandparents,” according to Huntington Willard, director of Duke University’s Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, in an e-mail interview with Flaherty.
The application to us is obvious, is it not? If we had the tools we could explain the case for life at an academic level but that might limit our audience to professors of philosophers. Or we can make our argument in language that is pure emotion. Or we can use pro-life “jargon” whose meaning is self-evident (to us) but leaves those outside the “community” scratching their heads.
Or something else more accessible to everyone.
We’re not talking about producing videos. But what can we said out loud in a one or two minutes that might move skeptics to consider the case for life? In other words what could we say to someone who is not hostile or belligerent (that’s a whole other topic) but simply has never engaged the abortion question directly?
Many of you may have already done so—had conversations with the “mushy middle—but most may not have. If the occasion arose, what might you say?
What do you think you could offer in such a limited time span that might get the person to think about the core issues–that could gently pry open a mind that is stuck?
Food for thought—and for saving unborn babies.