It feels like the world has gone a bit mad recently. COVID-19 has brought many major problems in society to light that were always there. It is just such a dramatic event that brought them to the forefront in a way they could not be ignored. One of those major issues was a general increase in science denial and scientific perversion. I’m not so foolish as to think these are entirely modern problems. This has been going on forever. It is just that the modern Internet makes attacks on legitimate science operate in a brand new way. It has recently really started to bother me on a very fundamental level. Not in a way that disrupts my life but one that just gives me an overall low-grade pessimism about humanity. So Dr. Stone came into my life at just the right time.
It has been 3,700 years since all of humanity was turned to stone during a mysterious instantaneous event. When boy genius Senku Ishigami is accidentally freed from the petrification curse he vows to use the tools of science to free humanity and rebuild civilization. The Stone World he awakens to is a dangerous place and there are various forces that do not wish to see Senku succeed. But with some luck and the power of science, he just might be able to save the human race.
The most enjoyable part of Dr. Stone is how much it simply revels in the ideas of science and learning. Every time Senku and his allies in the Kingdom of Science encounter an obstacle they overcome it humanely with the proper bit of technological know-how. While it does not teach in the depth that even a basic textbook would what it does is inspire the desire to explore concepts and ideas brought up in manga independently. Also just proves how much the scientific method has given humanity when used properly. That alone is invaluable.
Now it is not all just a love of science and learning. It is still a manga in Weekly Shōnen Jump. There are still cool fights, amusing comedy, and even a little bit of sexy. This is not just a very long argument for the use of scientific epistemology. It is a rollicking adventure that also happens to promote a very healthy way of interacting with truth and the world.
I don’t think Dr. Stone is so amazing that it can beat back ignorance and misinformation. But maybe if you are like me and feel a bit fatigued with the current state of humanity and the Internet then Dr. Stone is a reminder of the better aspects of our nature. That alone can easily make it an invaluable comic to read.
– Alain Mendez