Don’t give me that baloney…

Posted on December 12, 2010


Peter: ” Hey Professor, don’t try giving me that baloney! There’s a big difference between your so-called safe places,  a big difference between your trusted imaginary bridges into the future. First, there’s a wumping big difference between the trust you can put in science on the one hand and a lottery ticket on the other. And there’s a  humungous difference between science and religion. Come on… stop jerking our chain!”

Jenny: ” Peter! That’s  no way to talk to the professor – have you been smoking those funny looking cigarettes again?”

Professor Wiggly: ” It’s OK Jenny, Peter has a good point about differences …. Although science and lottery tickets both provide bridges into the future, science provides a large, long bridge that can carry a lot of  imaginary traffic. Whereas a lottery ticket provides only a narrow, short bridge that collapses every few days and has to be rebuilt. So yes there are differences in the size of safe places, in the duration and carrying capacity of our imaginary bridges.  There are also differences in the kind of traffic different bridges can carry. ”

Jenny: “I was just thinking about that. Scientific bridges certainly carry different kinds of traffic than religious bridges ”

Professor Wiggly: ” Yes, while science builds its imaginary bridges into the unknown, over uncertain ground, and while some of those bridges reach far into the future, supported by nothing but imaginary, theoretical sky-hooks,  as it goes along it tries to anchor them on solid ground – on trusted observational and experimental evidence. Recall that a few years ago vitamin C was all the rage. There was some theoretical and observational ‘evidence’ that taking large quantities would prevent and cure many ailments and lead to a longer life. Those scientists who believed the theory travelled into the future collecting and display supporting evidence. The few who didn’t travelled into their future collecting an attempting to get display space for negative evidence. After many years the foundations of  the vitamin C bridge started to crumble, the imaginary sky-hooks supporting the hopes for the future started to fail – the big bridge collapsed, leaving only a narrow one in its place. To be replaced with a new imaginary bridge – a vitamin E bridge – that would carry us into a healthy future. But eventually it too collapsed to be replaced by a vitamin D bridge, which is now starting to wobble, no doubt to be replaced by yet another vitamin bridge now emerging from the scientific drawing board.”

Posted in: Sciencing