Science You Can Trust(tm)

If you think you can stomach it, go visit the Conservapedia’s “Counterexamples to Relativity” page and have yourself a good skim. I’d open it in another tab or window so you can flip back and forth as necessary.

Neither General nor Special Relativity are complete theories. They’ve never been presented as such by anyone who actually understands them — including the original author and the huge number of scientists who have tested and confirmed many of the implications. Many of the points they bring up on that page are worthy of consideration and, where possible, careful and considered rebuttal. But science should never be religiousized or politicized. And here’s why:

Scientists know that the current theories are almost certainly flawed and incomplete. Scientists look forward to replacing them with better theories as experimental data breaks old concepts and helps construct new ones. In fact, most time and energy and funds in the scientific world is spent on testing the previous theories to the point of destruction. When an old body of knowledge falls, there are huge parties and celebrations. I swear this is true.

On the other hand, religious ideology, and increasingly political ideology, which is itself increasingly religiousized these days, has a tendency to be certain it is correct — even though history shows both religion and politics need periodic overhauls. That certainty requires those overhauls to be accompanied by bloodbaths more often than not, and there is still blood being shed on every boundary between the ideological groups except where people are careful to include the possibility that they might be wrong, no matter how much they hope they’re correct.

We really don’t need a bloody revolution whenever it’s time to discard a leading theory and replace it with one that works better. Too much of our science drives technology and medicine and agriculture that is absolutely critical to supporting and improving the lives of billions and billions of people. We have no time and money and blood and lives to waste on getting sucked into someone else’s wars.

Which brings us to another thing: have a really really good look at the logo above.

The flag of the United States of America looks like no other flag on earth. It shows beyond any any attempt at equivocation that the Conservapedia, and any politicized factish datoids contained inside, are intended to have no application to any membership outside of ideologically Conservative America United States residents/citizens/affiliates, and, unlike science, has no need to even seem to be true everywhere, to everyone.

The horrific hypocrisy of pretending to have anything useful to say about universal truths while intentionally limiting the scope of what is being said to adherents of partisan politics is beyond ludicrous. The ideologues who compile the Conservapedia use that logo to shield themselves from scrutiny and debate in a national and global arena and taint what that flag means by alluding to it in such a fashion.

The United States of America was itself founded as a scientific experiment — a field-test of political theories developed by thinkers and philosophers in public debates that raged across continents, across political and geographical boundaries, in many different languages, in many different schools and universities. The flag represents that experiment — and its limited success. And its slew of absolutely necessary refinements and revisions. Using it as a shield against public discourse and democratic debate is proclaiming the failure of those principles, arguing against the inherent worth and equality of every voice that can be heard.

It’s truly pathetic that Conservatives feel so threatened that they have to attack science itself, and, by doing so, the foundations of the organization they claim to hold the most dear.


August 9, 2010 · by xalieri · Posted in Everything Else  


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