Science. In the COVID and ultra-political environment in which we find ourselves, one of the buzz phrases is, “follow the science.”

The simplest form of scientific research would be two groups that differ in only one condition.  If the outcome activity in one group differs from the outcome activity in the second group, we can make two reasonable conclusions: 1. the difference in conditions between the two groups affected the outcome and 2. conditions which are constant across the two groups did not affect the outcome.

Of course, science is not always that simple. Certainly, in human research control of variables, sampling statistical reasoning and many other factors should be considered. But with a basic understanding of scientific research, we can see where the science leads us. We will see if people are willing to follow the science.

Docum Drugs. Recently, Sheinelle Jones, an excellent reporter for NBC gave a report about a sit-in in her hometown of Wichita, Kansas. Dockum Drugs was a prominent downtown drugstore. They refused service to people of color. In 1968, before more famous sit-ins occurred in the South, a group of courageous students conducted a sit-in at Docum Drugs. They were successful. Docum Drugs changed policy and began serving people of color.

Sims Park Golf Course. I have a strong personal interest in the events because at the very time blacks were denied service at Docum Drugs, I was eagerly serving blacks at Sims Municipal Golf Course located a couple of miles from Docum Drugs in Wichita.

The design of the golf course was such that players were never near the pro shop after they teed off on Hole 1. Therefore, a snack shack was built between the 9th and 10th holes. I worked there summers while I was in high school.

Each week I eagerly awaited Linwood Sexton and his group to come the snack shack. He was one of my heroes. He told stories of integrating college football as a running back for Wichita State. I was in awe.

Follow the Science. Clearly, my observations are not a controlled experiment, but the logic of science applies to the two serving situations. One server would not serve people of color and one eagerly served people of color. We have a constant between the two situations as both servers were white. Scientific reasoning would say whiteness in and of itself cannot be the cause or the difference in service between the two conditions because white was a constant. Some other human factor has to be responsible for the difference in service.

The very important lesson is – if two groups show different behavior then a constant between the two groups is not responsible for the change.  In this case two situations had very different behavior—service denial and eager service. The constant is both servers were white. Therefore, white is not the causal factor for refusal of service. It has to be some other aspect of the frailty of the human condition.

The difference might be due to profit motive or greed, might be due to fear, might be due to self-righteousness. The difference might be one or more of many flaws of the human condition. The important point is the difference is not due to whiteness.

The conclusion does not diminish the moral wrong by the people who would not serve on the basis of color. The conclusion does not diminish the moral courage of those who conducted the sit-in. The conclusion means the causal factors are not as simple as being white is the problem. Something about human conditions led to the failure to serve, not race.

By looking beyond whiteness, we can find the frailties inherent in all humans and work on them. I obviously believe in the need for a faith walk to overcome the evils of human nature.

I hope Mother’s Day was a good time for all.

Jeny’s surgery went well. We will not have lab reports for a while but the doctor remains confident he got it all. Thank you for your prayers.




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