Monday, August 15, 2005

The attractions of wing-nuttery

*Sigh* This little episode of Amazonian insanity when dealing with book reviews [found via Biocurious] reveals my favorite book-buying site to have feet of clay. Or, at the very least, some mentally-challenged review reviewers -- "We ask that you not use [your review] as a place for discourse on the subject matter" ?? I feel like I've just been told that Santa Claus isn't real.

What is it about "Everything you know about scientific theory X is wrong !" books [like the one in question above] that exerts such a fascination on people and leads them to gush about how "thought-provoking" and "ambitious" they are ? One [admittedly uncharitable] explanation that comes to mind is that it's grounded in a sort of "Hah, that'll show those hoity-toity science types who think they have all the answers !" Schadenfreude by people who just couldn't quite get their head around science in school, are still carrying around a chip on their shoulder about it and think that reading and agreeing with a book like this proves that they're smarter than those damn nerds after all. Part of the blurb for the book seems to support that theory: "
The Final Theory shows how one simple principle in nature finally explains all of these mysteries and more. Enjoy reading simple explanations for the most perplexing problems in physics today – without having to be a science scholar." In other words, "read this book so you too can have a strong opinion about something you really know nothing about".

I think it'd be great to be able to take these "debunkers" of science, lock them up somewhere with whatever raw materials they want and tell them "Ok, if you're so #$%$ smart and know how nature operates, why don't you use your superior theories to build a working telephone. Here's our number -- when you call us on your phone, we'll let you out."

1 Comments:

Blogger Son1 said...

You ain't seen the half of it.

Check this out. (And read the captions.)

"Newton... Einstein... MacCutcheon..."

Beautiful!

I think I'm going to start a new blog called "The Appliance of Science" (as if they'd never heard of the word "application?"). Or maybe that will be the name of my next (first) band. I can see it now: something large and gigantic, covered in the arcane scrawls of insane mathematicians, dials and meters everywhere, chugging and emitting steam, a slow-moving world-devouring contraption... :-D

10:12 AM  

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