Time for All Ages: Just Asking Questions
The bugs of Bugsburg decided to hold a meeting: something had to be done about all the spiderwebs in town. Bugsburg was supposed to be one of the few safe places where bugs could walk and fly about their business without worrying if they might stumble into a web. The solution seemed obvious: they could vote to ban webs inside the city limits.
But at the meeting, one of the first to speak was the Spider.
“Now I’m not against banning webs,” the Spider said. “But do we really know if a web ban will work?” The bugs murmured amongst themselves.
“Well of course if there’s no webs, nobody will get stuck in a web,” the Caterpillar said.
“But is there evidence?” the Spider asked. “I’m not arguing with you. I’m just asking questions. Are there any studies that show web bans work? Have other towns tried a web ban? If so, maybe we should postpone this meeting while someone does their research.”
“Are you going to do the research?” the Caterpillar asked the Spider.
“You’re the one who proposed a web ban,” the Spider replied. “I’m just asking questions.”
And it did seem fair. So the meeting was postponed another week while the Caterpillar went from town to town asking if anyone else had tried a web ban and if it had worked. In the meantime, 3 more webs went up in the town square and several roly-polies had to be rescued after wandering into them.
At the next meeting the Caterpillar was able to report that Insectville and Crawlington both tried web bans and they worked.
“But what evidence is there that the web bans worked?” the Spider asked.
“The bugs in those towns literally told me to my face,” the Caterpillar replied.
“Maybe they’re biased,” the Spider replied.
“Maybe you’re biased,” the Caterpillar said.
“I’m just asking questions,” the Spider responded. “Shouldn’t we look for solid data from independent researchers that proves web bans work before we implement them? If we don’t make decisions based on scientific information, if we just let the mob rule by feelings alone, then how can we be proud of Bugsburg?”
It did seem fair. So they postponed for another week while the Caterpillar went to all the local Bug Universities to interview professors about their research into web laws. And in the meantime, 17 more webs went up around town and several ants disappeared.
At the next meeting the Caterpillar was able to provide dozens of studies and books and articles showing that web bans were helpful for towns. But the Spider also came prepared: he brought an article from Professor Spidey T. Webbington, which said the opposite thing. Professor Webbington said that web bans were no use, that bugs can’t be trusted, and that maybe webs are good for bugs after all.
“How can we decide for sure with all of these contradictory opinions?” the Spider asked.
“I think we should be listening to the bugs on this,” the Caterpillar said. “You and Professor Webbington are both spiders!”
“Isn’t Bugsburg supposed to be a place where everyone is welcome?” the Spider asked, offended.
“You don’t care if Bugsburg is welcoming! You’re just trying to stop the web ban because you’re the one putting up webs!” the Caterpillar cried.
“That’s not true,” the Spider said. “I’m just asking questions.” And the spider kept asking questions, until once again the meeting had to be postponed.
In the next week, 34 new webs went up around town and all of the moths went missing.
It just goes to show that not all questions are genuine. Sometimes people ask questions because they really want to know something. But sometimes people ask questions just to waste time. And in those instances, it can be helpful to figure out: are these questions helping, or are these questions holding us back?