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Welcome to Chestbeating By Word. Writings on artists, experiences, entertainment and fiction.

Have Faith in Science

Have Faith in Science

Blaze has got a telescope. Yes, I know the idea might be scary for his near neighbours but seeing it took him two hours to work out which end to look into, I am feeling ok about it. Besides Blaze’s purchase of the telescope was driven by a worthy thought.

Now you might be thinking, based on Blaze’s usual behavioural drivers that whatever the thought might be, residents of nearby unit blocks are in for a whole lot of curtain closing. But I should add that he has also bought one of those Home Chemistry sets where you can conduct safe chemistry experiments that create smells like baked bean farts or fizzy solutions or precipitants in the bottom of test tubes.

He is, as they say in the classics, going large on science. This is a big step for someone whose previous contact with science was the TV show Lost in Space, home brewing and post it notes.

So what is triggering this obvious pursuit of science? What is driving this sudden interest in an implementation of observation, recording and reasoning? And why am I so supportive especially since the last time science, Blaze and I were together in the same room, I had, for some weeks after, a ringing in my ears, a strange rash on the backs of my knees and nightmares where I was a laboratory test rabbit being force fed broccoli flavoured sorbet? Also the dog would pointedly look and lick the third toe on my left foot and then go outside and dry retch.

 

It’s simple really, Blaze and I are united in the defence of science in the face of a world that appears ever more willing to discredit science for political gain, financial imperative or just sheer “bugger it, the science doesn’t fit with my world view and beliefs.”

 

And I just don’t get it. It is science that shaped the world, it is science that helps feed millions more people every year, provides us with all the conveniences we have grown to love in the western world, and is bringing the rest of this planet out of miserable, diseased poverty. Cars, flight, medicine, electricity, and computers - all made possible through the discovery and application of scientific principles.

 

And yet. And yet here we are in a world that cherry picks, that even outright rejects scientific recommendations prepared after extensive testing and reviewing in multiple experiments around the world. To me it looks the human race has already hit peak intelligence and we are now wilfully being ignorant because we don’t want to be wrong, or miss out on a dollar, or have conflict with our personal rights and so we say fuck the science.

 

You shouldn’t need me to go into detail on my personal thoughts on anti vaxers and climate change deniers. But put it this way. If you have a suspicious looking mole on your body and you go to nineteen highly qualified skin cancer specialists and all of them tell you that the mole is dangerous and needs to be removed do you instead act on the advice of the twentieth specialist who says it is ok and you can ignore it?

If you do, then you are obviously a special person. Unfortunately there seems to be ever more of you and while I don’t care much about a mole that only affects you, it is a different story when we are talking about community, country and global issues.

 

I understand that science can be wrong and that not all science is good but there are enormous issues for us humans other than global warming. Massive change is careering towards in the areas of AI and genetic engineering and the science is way ahead of the moral and legal discussion. But the answer is not to discredit the science.

 

I believe if we run amok with unregulated science in some kind of a black market way or even worse lapse into some kind of new age of wilful ignorance by discrediting or even prohibiting science we might as well start offering sacrifices to the pixies at the bottom of the garden.

 

Anyway back to Blaze, who is on to it like microbes on a growth solution in a petri dish. He is [hopefully] looking at the stars and creating Hydrogen Sulphide that for once is not self -generated. He knows that he needs to fight for science, respect experimentation, observation, recording, drawing conclusions from the data, testing and retesting. Then peer reviewing and at the end of the whole process, if the information is overwhelming, submit it with a recommendation for action.

Like Newton, Einstein, Darwin and Hawking, Blaze is a man of science.

So Blaze and I are on board, are you?

 

Six songs concerning science [that’s alliteration that is]

Weird Science- Oingo Boingo

Here Comes Science –actually a whole album about science from the wonderful They Might Be Giants – highlight being the defiant and catchy I Am A Palaeontologist

Higgs Boson Blues – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

What Is The Light – The Flaming Lips

She Blinded Me With Science – Thomas Dolby

Science – System Of A Down

Go Green

Go Green