The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I say!

It's time that we demanded a moratorium on the phrase "junk science" from people. I think that the nonstop insulting of everything has grown to the point that it is rediculous and counterproductive.

I am not saying that there are not insane pseudoscientists out there in the world, attempting to do everything from "disprove" evolution and the Big Bang to insane politically motivated nonsense about how oil burning helps the environment. These people clearly exist, and their existence is a problem.

The solution, however, is not to go around insulting these people, and by extension, anyone whose ears they might have. Instead, it is necessary that we, with the patience of saints, calmly go around, showing why their viewpoint doesn't hold up when you think about it at all. This approach will go a lot further in dispelling the "contraversial" nature of their work, and make them look like the shill, obnoxious bastards that they are. Ignoring them, though satisfying, just adds to their already overinflated persecution complex, which enables their movement to grow, and which has put us into our current mess, I say.

In particular, when the ID people go on about the young universe, rather than engaging them on the ground that they want, (talking about how one species changes into another, blah, blah), in terms that they define so that they are intentionally confusing, thus enabling a third party to get confused by their dodgy questioning, why not start questioning them about astronomy? Why not ask them to justify the precession of Mercury's perehilion (or the bending of light by the sun, or gravitational redshift of light) without using General relativity? Ask them to explain how the universe could be 4000 years old when this same General Relativity strongly indicates that is more like 15 billion years old. ID people haven't even thought about these questions, much less come up with the kind of nonsensical non-answers that they have for a lot of the evolution related things. And these sort of questions don't admit the same sort of "common sense" anti-answers that the biological questions do.

And for those of you in the field, who run around doing nothing but insulting other serious researchers in the field, calling names as much as you are actually criticising people's work/offering constructive criticism: fuck off--everyone's trying, and history has shown that the most arrogant person's point of view proves to be incorrect as often as it does not. c.f. the origin of non-classical physics.


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