Can I join the party

Posted on September 18, 2010


Jenny: “Hey you guys, can I join the party? No objections? Good. I agree with the Prof. that there’s no way science can fill in all or even most of the gaps in our knowledge, even Hitchens acknowledges that all reasoning is ‘faith-based’ reasoning. Notice, no one can say for sure what’s going to happen in the next ten minutes let alone the next ten years – just ask the people who worked in the World Trade Centre, and there’s no way you tell for sure whether your marriage will last,  just ask Dawkins  he’s had three – no way you can tell for sure whether your doctor is on drugs, or the driver in the next lane is sober,  etc., etc. Have you noticed that all experts – wittingly or unwittingly – include garbage along with goodies in their product lines. It’s the self-righteous ones, the ones who claim that only they are to be trusted that we have to worry about. Too bad though isn’t it that when we’re confused or lost or hurting  we’re most likely to listen to extremists because we want simple-minded, black or white solutions?

On the other hand I’ll sure take what you call the ‘short term magic’ that science can produce – pure water, sanitation, air-conditioning, flights to Paris and the moon. We might as well get used to it, there are extremist know-it-alls in every group including science, religion, politics, economics, sports… you name it.”

Professor Wiggly: ” Wait a cotton-picken minute – this is my blog. Who the hell are you?”

Jenny: “I was just pogo-sticking around and stumbled on your rant…. I felt that your sidekick Peter seemed a bit of whimp and needed help. Furthermore, if I may be so bold Professor, you were sounding a bit self-righteous.”

Professor Wiggly: ” Oh I was, was I?”

Jenny: ” Common, don’t get your academic gown in a knot. I agree with your main point – the reach of science is limited, it only works on certain kinds of problems,  the shelf life of scientific solutions is uncertain, and some of it’s byproducts –  like super-bugs, global warming and nuclear weapons threaten human survival. Nevertheless, even though science has  left behind life threatening piles of garbage, and even though some scientists may be jerks, don’t you agree that science is our most trusted news service and producer of short-term magic?”

Professor Wiggly: ” Yes, I was concentrating on the limits of science in response to those who were over-selling it. Before you interrupted the discussion I was having with Peter I was going to outline its strengths.”

Posted in: Sciencing