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The Fallacy of “Settled Science.”

24 May

May 24, 2018

Please forgive this digression. There has been a lot of talk in the news about various topics, and the terms “scientific consensus,” “scientists agree,” and most egregiously, “settled science” have been bandied about as if they mean something.

Do not take this as my opinion on any topic. Do not read into this and think you know my opinion on global warming or genetically modified food or any topic you think I may or may not be referring to. I am not referring to any of them.

I am sick of the phrases “scientists agree” and “scientific consensus.” Those are nonsense. Science is not decided by committee.  

Scientists once agreed the sun revolved around the Earth.
Scientific consensus said that there were canals on Mars.
Scientists agreed that it was impossible to travel faster than light.
Scientific consensus said that there was nothing smaller than an atom.

Science grows and evolves as our knowledge grows and new discoveries are made. That’s why a new ligament in the human body was recently discovered. (1) That’s why the discovery of an Earth-like planet could lead to finding extraterrestrial life. (2) That’s why not all extinct species may remain extinct. (3)

Scientific agreement and consensus are not necessarily facts. They are theories and ideas and like any other theories or ideas can be disproven by later experimentation and observation.

“Settled science” is the most unscientific phrase of all. It closes the mind. It ends inquiry. It denies exploration. It is the exact opposite of what science is about. Science is NEVER settled.

 

(1) http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/11/06/your-knee-bones-connected-to-your-what-scientists-discover-new-body-part/

(2) https://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star

(3) http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/could-we-see-return-ancient-extinct-species-001400

 

One last point. If you believe in the Flat Earth Theory, don’t think this helps your cause. There’s science and then there’s bad science. The Flat Earth Theory is based on poor observation, disregard of contradictory facts, and blind adherence to dogma.

 

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Happy Hanukkah, Jack Kirby and Ben Grimm!

13 Dec

Updated December 13, 2017

from December 23, 2016
and December 15, 2012

The 1976 Jack Kirby family Hanukkah card

The 1976 Jack Kirby family Hanukkah card

I am a big fan of The Fantastic Four and of them, I am first and foremost a fan of The Thing. He is easily in my top five, possibly top three comic book characters. And speaking of the First Family of Marvel Comics, Ben Grimm was created by two men who surely were members of the First Family of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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And while many of the legends of the comic industry, like Superman creators Joe Siegel and Jerry Shuster, Will Eisner, Stan Lee and Jack “King” Kirby were Jewish, it doesn’t necessarily follow that their famous creations are Jewish. Superman is not Jewish, The Spirit is not Jewish (though many of Will Eisner’s contemporary creators contend that Eisner always implied that he was. So maybe…)

But Benjamin Jacob Grimm is undoubtedly Jewish.

And here's his bar mitzvah to prove it.

And here’s his bar mitzvah to prove it.

From wikipedia, oy vey!:

In keeping with an early taboo in the comic superhero world against revealing a character’s religion, the fact that Grimm was Jewish was not explicitly revealed until four decades after his creation, in the story, “Remembrance of Things Past” (in Fantastic Four, vol. 3, #56, August 2002). In this story, Grimm returns to his old neighborhood to find Mr. Sheckerberg, a pawn shop owner he had known as a child. Flashbacks during this story reveal Grimm’s Jewish heritage, and he even recites the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer often recited over the dead and dying, over the dying Sheckerberg, who eventually recovers. In a later story, Grimm even agrees to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah, since it has been 13 years (the age a Jewish boy celebrates his Bar Mitzvah) since he began his “second life” as the Thing. To celebrate the ceremony, Grimm organizes a poker tournament for every available superhero in the Marvel Universe.

It is a fact that The Thing is in many ways just Jack Kirby writing himself on the page. While The Spirit may be what Will Eisner wished to be, in many was The Thing is who Jack Kirby really was.

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Remind you of anyone?

 

Some personality traits of the cantankerously lovable, occasionally cigar-smoking, Jewish native of the Lower East Side are popularly recognized as having been inspired by those of co-creator Jack Kirby, who in interviews has said he intended Grimm to be an alter ego of himself.

So as we approach The Festival of Light, it is only appropriate to wish both Ben Grimm and Jack Kirby a very

hanukkah_happy

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This has been

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