Tuesday, April 22, 2014

science

Half of Americans Aren’t Sure Big Bang Happened Here's a headline. How disgusting that the American people can't just roll over and accept the news that the big bang happened. I mean, science, right?

This is presented as a distressing tidbit about Americans being stuck in the dark ages, religion still having its claws in the American way of thinking, and the deplorable state of scientific ignorance which is probably due to Texans not teaching enough evolution.

What is implied here is that if Americans were better at critical thinking, they would just accept as gospel truth anything Neil deGrasse Tyson tells them on TV. Scientific inquiry, indeed. A person's own empirical understanding of reality has led them to question what has been shoved down their throat in school, and we are supposed to condemn that as bad science? People are driven by the collective data of their lives to conclude that the big bang doesn't account for things they know to be real, and that means that they don't know how to think? They express doubt in a theory that fails to predict the reality that they know, and they are branded as criminally obsolete, accused of holding back the human race from a greatness that can only be achieved by treating people with different beliefs as a cancerous inferior race that needs to be purged.

How many of those who do not doubt the big bang have actually made the measurements and drawn the inferences from the data and proved for themselves that the inferences are logically valid? Among those who have personally encountered data and physics research about the universe, how many had already pledged allegiance to the big bang before the statistical analysis of their first experiment? What then convinced them? Democracy? Authority? Revelation? I'm guessing most of the people who refuse to doubt the big bang have been convinced by an argument that amounts to more faith than science.

Also, why is a profession of the big bang held up as a benchmark of how prepared a person is for 'real life'? Rather seems to be a moot point and wildly irrelevant, unless the academic world is just trying to extract a denunciation of God before one can proceed to the cool kids' table.

What is given as a condescending reproach is eloquent in its transparency. People are not bad at rational thought. They are bad at buying the proof by intimidation. That anyone is alarmed by someone else doubting that the universe is a meaningless accident, should make people think.

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