Monday, June 25, 2012

Exporting Stupid

It seems somewhat fitting that while the number of exportable, finished goods that America creates each month diminishes towards only the raw materials ripped from her soil, the one thing that we do seem to have in abundance is finding new markets overseas: stupidity.

It seems that South Korea has decided, despite the acceptance of the Catholic Church that Evolution has a place in theology1, to remove all references of the theory of evolution from their school textbooks. Meanwhile, fundamentalist schools in Louisiana2 are attempting to use a mythical loch monster to disprove evolution. Woe be to societies that bow down to a vocal minority that cannot weigh their arguments with reason, as it makes you ripe for conquest as your science crumbles to a pathetic shadow of what it was before.

I'm enjoying watching the disintegration of America, due to the overwhelming tide of the gibbering echo chamber of faith as it steamrolls over those that critically think, yet are unwilling to fight back. Live and let live, the latter say, while the former attempt to burn3 all that hold scientific method as a way to discern fact from faith. Myself, I take a "fight-fire-with-pyroclastic-flow" methodology, and when I get a fundamentalist knocking at my door I simply release the hounds4,5.

That's not even to say that science must be in opposition to faith, merely that faith shouldn't be held as fact since it cannot be proven with the scientific method; believe what you wish, just don't claim it to be science. This is one of the most insidious tricks of the subject of intelligent design: that it passes as science because it cannot be disproved, and that it must be true because evolution is too complex to happen on its own. It's played off as the middle ground between two extremes. It's a great way to get religion and faith to masquerade as science.

The problem with this thinking is that it is outright incorrect. Science cannot validate faith because of how science works. But the one thing science does well is find what is fact, and what is not. By applying critical thinking and the scientific method, we systematically eliminate what is not factual and we are left with an increasingly pure nugget of truth. Science has brought us antibiotics instead of dying from bad humors, GPS satellites6 based on orbital mechanics instead of a magical flaming chariot that flies across the sky each day, silicon logic gates rather than ... well, abacuses7, I suppose.

Faith, by contrast, tells you to believe in things despite the absence of scientific evidence, a way of personally solving the unknown or unknowable. What it should not do is tell you to believe in things despite scientific evidence itself. For instance, the vast majority of evidence and tested science shows that evolution is a reality. Denying it because your spiritual leader told you to is to cast yourself into the dominion of fools and lunatics, and if you count yourself amongst that number, then shut off the computer or device that you are reading this on, give away all your non-handmade possessions8, and move to a log9 cabin in the woods with a pit for a toilet because everything else you have was created with scientific principles and you don't deserve to have use of it.

Once a testable method is developed for proving or disproving something of faith, it can (and should) be moved into the realm of science for further study. An idea shouldn't wallow in the quagmire of assumption simply because the creator and/or adherents to the idea fear for its validity. Take a lesson from Johannes Kepler, who struggled for many years to make the heavens fit to his model of Platonic solids. Once he discarded that idea, he went on to make incredible contributions to astronomy and physics that we use today, such as the aforementioned orbital mechanics.

Don't worry though, big Religion! It's still quite a long ways off before faith can be tested in the lab. On the other hand, perhaps you're closer than previously thought.

Where might science be today if it weren't for religion, attempting to disprove truth and knowledge as a challenge to its power? Probably not quite as far as it is in my own former laboratories, but perhaps closer. Hmm, where would my own laboratories be if I could didn't have to work around such cries as "unethical", "insane" and "monster"? Alas, poor science... I hardly knew thee.

Well, I've certainly waxed philosophic today. Feel blessed. Good night readers, sleep well, I'll most likely kill you in the morning.

1. As we all know, the Pope is infallible, right, pious religious inflexibles? If he says it, it must be true!
2. Where else? I mean, aside from Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, and the Virginias.
3. Quite literally, at times.
4. Formerly, an automated system would have them at "Hello". By have, I mean "atomized" or "pushed into lava".
5. The hounds are also immune to any arguments of reason or logic, no matter the method employed. A taste of their own medicine!
6. ...and orbital weapons platforms. And moon bases.
7. Actually, no, because abacuses are based in math, which is scientifically proven even down to basic addition and subtraction.
8. To me.
9. The logs must have been felled by lightning, landslide, or other "god" process to fit with your reasoning, since axes were created by the scientific method - cleaving angles learned through trial and error -- a process described by the scientific method.

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