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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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Imponderable #137: Turn In Your Man Card

3 May

May 3, 2018

A son’s school note penned by his father has gone viral. Check it out!

 

Dear Mrs. Field.

     Sean tells me that you have confiscated his sweater. He tells me that in class he conforms to the school uniform. He was absent from school on Monday because he had a cold, so traveling on Wednesday without his sweater was not too clever. 

     He told me that the jacket he wears normally is acceptable, but it was stained, therefore he could not wear it. His mother was in Cyprus last week on a break and I, unfortunately, was not able to use the washing machine. Sean was too embarrassed at having a father who cannot use a washing machine to say this.

     Anyway my point is: Isn’t this just a little bit petty? Life’s hard enough.

 

And the internet loves it! Wow! What a nice dad, he seems so sweet!

Really? Seems like a jerk to me.

First of all, his son broke the dress code and he has the nerve to accuse the teacher of being petty?

(And what young boy cares if his jacket is stained? When I was a kid you had to pry my Spider-Man t-shirt off me. It had stains from meals I only vaguely remembered eating but I still wore it because I loved it.)

Second of all, his wife was away “on a break”? She was probably on a break from her marriage based on…

Thirdly, what kind of a man can’t figure out a washing machine? OK, maybe you aren’t sure which cycle to use, but A- turn it on B- pick a setting, any setting, C- add water and detergent, D- go watch TV and drink a beer. 

This guy can’t use a washing machine and I’m sure he can’t change a burnt out fuse in the basement, fix a flat tire, bandage a wound, or anything else you’d expect a man to be able to do. This is not a man I’d trust with my life. I wouldn’t trust him not to spill his lite beer when he’s watching the WNBA.

And he had no problem writing about it! He thinks he’s funny!

His son was embarrassed at having a father who can’t use a washing machine? I’m sure there’s a lot more he can be can be embarrassed for his father about.

I’m sure his wife is on a break in Cyrus, on the beach, with another guy.

What father is proud of the fact that he can’t use a washing machine? 

The question is Imponderable.

 

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