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Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You

As the name says, I do love science.  It is a bit like magic that you can understand and use.  There has been a lot of buzzing in my life recently with people not appreciating math and science.  Like most people I have grown out of the phase where I assumed that things that seem obvious to me are also obvious to others.  I moved from the west to the heartland of the bible belt my senior year in highschool.  It was a culture shock to say the least and it opened my eyes to different ways that people rationalize.  There was an article in the news regarding a possible satellite being sent into orbit that could be used to shine light down on the earth when a natural disaster happened.  It seemed like an interesting idea, technology for the benefit of mankind rather than war.  No brainer, right? Wrong.  So the teacher asks those of us that agree with it to go to one side of the room and those in opposition to go to the other.  I expected this to be over rather quickly, who would possibly oppose the idea.  There was a small few of us that were for it and the majority was against.  We had to pick a speaker and lay out the arguments.  The valedictorian along with most of the kids I had classes with were on the opposed side.  I had no idea at what the argument against would be and had to ask.  Well, it was that only god should have the power to shine light on the earth.  OF COURSE, why did I not think of that?  I couldn’t believe that people I assumed were intelligent were rejecting what made it possible for them to go to school in the first place.  Why do you think you are here learning instead of plowing in the fields and hunting for meat?  Where do you think those fine linens that you are so fond of wearing come from?  What enables you to drive around and not have your day end when the sun goes down?  Why do you reject science and advancement on the basis of a definition of wrong that doesn’t even include someone being harmed?  I went off for a very long time.  I could feel my blood boiling at the absurd logic.  My arguments were good and they ended up just saying the run of the mill statement of, “I just think it is wrong.”  I came to understand that day that even people that can solve complex math problems and score perfect on all of their science tests can have no understanding of how it affects their day to day existence.  If I worship anything it is scientific understanding.  In every button you press on your tv flipper, in every pasteurized drink you drink, and in every website you visit, you worship it too.

 

I can't leave a science story with out my favorite science quote. Once again...

"The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work."   --  John von Neumann

 

Krypton Krypton 31-35, F 9 Responses Mar 18, 2009

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If I still had lived up there, I would have volunteered to help myself! I would have been dancing and peeling! LOL

Oh my, such tales of ignorance...But the South doesn't have the market cornered. I wrote about my own 'you gotta be kidding' moment: http://www.experienceproject.com/uw.php?e...#comment_embed

I think some people simply choose to be ignorant no matter what evidence is placed in front of them. I lived in the deep south for 2 years. My neighbor, an educated person with a career, complained her family contracted the flu from all the blacks at her corporate picnic. In college I presented a kickass speech in my speech class on homosexuality. We had to choose a controversial topic so I presented genes v environment on what is the root of homosexual orientation. It wasn't a stellar scientific presentation but I did what I could in my allotted 5 minutes. I knew it was an excellent speech, too. My professor had one comment: "I think homos are just sick."

I am all for scientific knowledge too. I think we should squeeze dry every last bit of curiosity we have about the world. Absolutely! But I am also for the slow application of new knowledge. The implications of some of these new technologies and discoveries are not always so clear. We also have the profit motive murking up the ethical considerations. So.....yeah......science and knowledge is one thing, rapid full speed ahead developement is another. IMHO anyway.

Yes, Pedro, your kid didn't make it to the IB program by following the flock.

And do you know who had to remove all those stickers...the teachers. They had to go to school on Saturdays, sit in the cafeterias and take out all those stickers. They couldn't do it on Sundays, because our public schools are loaned out to religious groups for services on that day.

Yeah Lilt! I had the feeling I WAS in KANSAS! LOL

Excellent, as usual, Krypton. Jojo is correct about our neck of the woods.

Just 6 short years ago, stickers were placed in all the science books that said "Evolution is merely a theory." And we live in the largest county of the state. A SMALL group of people opposed this and a federal court said they had to be removed. Now that's what I call science fiction.

Thank you for such thought provoking posts from the both of you! What a great way to start out my day. I am also a learned person of science and logic and have always been intrigued by the wonders of the sciences, the empirical vs the theoretic. Krypton, your story is astoundingly sad. It shows what is really wrong with things today. I live in the deep south bible belt and we experience this type of thing all the time. I work in health care, one of the most scientific professions in the world and you wouldn't believe..................I can't even say it!