Letter: Science center is the logical choice | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Science center is the logical choice

Every argument is weighed by the construct of ethos, pathos and logos, and the future use of the Old Power House holds no exception.

Ethos: The ethical/moral argument really amounts to, “What is the ethical approach? What proposal offers our community the greatest integrity?” I would argue that allowing a publicly owned, taxpayer-funded building to be occupied by a for-profit brewery is unethical, especially in a residentially owned neighborhood outside the downtown core. The idea of “privatizing the commons” allows for “benefiting a few at the expense of the many.” It also sets up future councils in endless battles between a private business and the residents who surround it. This proposal touts entrepreneurial space; however, for those of us who have started and run businesses, drinking beers in sublet space and chatting with friends is not what makes or breaks success for startups. Success comes from work and research, which many of us have done from our kitchen tables. It is far more ethical to advance the science, technology, engineering and math studies and augment the education of our future generations; it is far more ethical to reach all ages and all ethnicities and to offer hands-on, interactive science experiences to both rich and poor than it is to serve a limited few within the confinements of their personal goals.

Pathos: The emotional argument is one where our empathy comes into play. This is the human element that gives us passion, excitement and wonder. There is more excitement in a science center than in a bar, and the wonder on the face of a child is both inspiring and contagious. The human connection across generations makes us a better community and shows the positive side of society. The science center holds far more “wow” factor. It holds incredible potential for the future of our next generations.

Logos: The logical, data-driven economics are just that: numbers that hold weight. Data show that the synapses in our brains are almost entirely constructed by the age of 5, and it is the reuse of these pathways that gives us our intellectual capacity and keeps us mentally strong. Synapses are created by educational experiences and connections, and the plasticity of our brains means that we have the ability to keep learning and creating synapses when we are intellectually stimulated. A science center would feed our brains. It also would feed our community; there are 22,000 children in the valley that would have access to the science center. Add seniors who are both volunteering and learning, families out together and visitors seeking world-class experiences off the slopes, and the science center makes logical sense in the numbers it serves. It also makes economic sense, as it relies on its own, very successful track record of fundraising as opposed to loans or retail sales.

The Old Power House was a nonprofit art museum — it makes sense make it a nonprofit science museum.

Miles Barkhurst


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