Ladies and gentlemen, let’s be mindful that few things in life are absolutely black or white. Well, OK; I’ll give you that Glen Beck is a raging, paranoid loopy and that Sean Hannity is a pernicious lying weasel, but THAT’S all I’m conceding.
But in most other matters, a “one-size-fits-all” philosophy probably isn’t optimal. Between the extremes of black and white, lie multiple shades of gray, particularly when it comes to social, political, legal, science, and moral issues.
But since my professional life has revolved around science and engineering, I’m going to restrict this piece to those areas. I promise to be brief and to keep it math-free.
We’re now into the 21st century. And while what you’re about to read applies —provided you’re still reading this—to the entire world, my concerns are for the United States of America.
This country has grown severely dependent on science and technology, but most people, aside from actual scientists, know little about either of these.
I’m not talking about having and knowing how to play games or watching movies on your smart-phone. Neither am I talking about using social media to stay in touch with family and friends.
It’s great that you have the latest and greatest TV hooked directly into the Internet; or that you’ve become an expert at programming your TiVo. Nor is it any big deal that you do your banking on-line.
I’m talking about developing science IQs that make it possible for shirtsleeve Americans to know the difference between pseudo-scientific bullshit and the real McCoy. Nor am I saying that everyone needs a science PhD.
We need to find ways of preventing radio and TV pundits—not to mention a huge number of our pandering politicians—from practicing good, old fashioned “Conceptual Science.”
Legitimate scientists gather their evidence first, then theorize and let the chips fall as they may. If the theory is weak, science will find ways of pointing it out.
Conceptual “scientists,” on the other hand, go about things differently. They state their opinions in the form of pre-research CONCLUSIONS, all the while preempting factual contradictions to said conclusions.
Scientific findings are NEVER certain, even in the light of solid factual verification. Faith-based findings, with absolutely NO proof at all, are ALWAYS certain—and I’m not referring to anything religious here, either! Some people believe some pretty stupid stuff on their own without dragging God into it.
An example of the former is Einstein’s Special Relativity that decreed the speed of light as the cosmic speed limit. In other words, bodies of MASS can’t move through space faster than the speed of light, in fact, they can’t even EQUAL the speed of light.
As solid as Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity has become, all it would take is just ONE positively verifiable instance of something consisting of mass—no matter how small—moving faster than the speed of light, and that theory will go straight down the scientific crapper.
On the STUPID side of things, I have a neighbor who will NOT use, or even OWN, a microwave oven. Why? Because they’re VERY dangerous—they, in her exact words, “actually change the molecular structure of food.”
And she’s absolutely correct! But the whole point of cooking is to CHANGE food’s molecular structure! But, regardless, convection ovens do the same thing; only they do it from the outside in and infinitely SLOWER. Microwave ovens cook food from the inside out.
The science is simple for those wishing to research it. Radiation comes in two basic flavors: ionizing and non-ionizing.
The former is extremely high-energy used in nuclear weapons. The latter is very low-energy such as found in infrared heat and radio waves. Microwave ovens are definitely on the non-ionizing end of the scale and perfectly safe to use.
And how about the ongoing hissy fit over climate change? Don’t even get me started on THAT. At this point in 2014, approximately 99.7% of the world’s climate scientists agree that the place is heating up and that humans have hurried it along.
But if you’re one who thinks it’s all a Liberal hoax perpetrated by Al Gore—and I’m no fan of his—you’re purely and simply an idiot.
Another example is medical science spending truckloads of money to find ways to help people live LONG into old age. But what good does it do when society and its pandering politicians refuse to spend more than a pittance on finding ways for them to enjoy it.
Here’s the thing; chronologically I’m well into my 70s. I still have all of my original parts, and all of them still work, only not as well as they used to work.
And I know that I’m way closer to the end than to the middle. It does not bother me in the least. When the end comes, I want it to be quick and painless . . . like collapsing and being dead before my body hits the floor.
So, MEDICAL SCIENCE, here’s a newsflash. As long as it happens quickly, I’d rather die younger but happier than older but miserable. And if society is willing to provide me with nothing more than BINGO centers, kindly kiss my . . . well you know what.
Have a happy Easter or whatever your particular religious belief is celebrating at this time of year.