Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Pop: Scientific fingerpointers and their floating apples

Scientists today are held up as figures of absolute knowledge, people who have a perfect knowledge of how everything works and who ‘prove’ things to absolute certainty. I find myself getting frustrated at this a lot, particularly when this attitude is often expressed in the same breath as berating Christians for believing in what is ultimately the same thing. Evidenceless theories that become fact when enough people believe in them. 

I understand the temptation to laugh at this, to find drawing parallels between religion and science ridiculous. But there is a simple reason to that, we are all taught science to be fact from the moment that we are educated. In the same way in fact that Christians are taught by their parents from a young age that God exists. This is something that I have gone into detail on before, but my annoyance was reignited by the television and I can’t help but have another rant. 

The worst culprit for sparking this kind of behaviour in fingerpointers is the big bang. The big bang is a theory, it always has been. It has little evidence attached to it but has become popularised because it is the best alternative to God. The problem with any theory that relates to space is that we can’t go there, or at least we can’t go very far. Science is based entirely on human observation and space is not within our observational abilities because we lack the technology to take us out there to any degree that would be needed to view what we need to view. We have no idea what even the Milky Way looks like, not really. All that we have are pictures and guesses but children are taught that this is unequivocally what the galaxy looks like. 

There is an argument for this, that we may not have seen it with our own eyes but we have seen it through our machines and through the results that they produce. There are areas of science however which discount this as accurate. Light has been shown to act in different ways depending on whether it is being measured or not, the act of us measuring it changes its behaviour. If this fundamental part of science cannot be accurately measured then why should we assume that the behaviour of things in space is not changing when we attempt to measure it? Every picture, every calculation of red shift or blue shift could be being altered by the simple fact that we are trying to measure it. 

Because of this we cannot be certain of any result that we get from anything; no principle of science is set in stone. What makes it worse is that many scientific principles are based on other scientific principles which people don’t believe that they need to test anymore. It relies on an assumption that human beings are flawless, because if we base our current ‘facts’ on observations that other people made in the past then we must believe that they are perfect, that there is no chance of them being wrong. 

Truth is a linguistical concept and nothing more, it may be comforting to believe that we know things about the universe but we don’t, we know absolutely nothing and because of that we feel it necessary to trust our eyes. I understand that, everybody needs a bit of comfort. But to declare that scientific comfort is in any way better than the comfort people receive from faith is not only arrogant, it is childish. People fight and die in the name of religion but that has little to do with what they are taught and more to do with their nature. If a Muslim blows up a building in name of their God, it is a measure of the kind of person they are and how gullible they are and not the fault of Islam. Getting rid of religion won’t fix our world, it will just put us in the same position as we were when everyone was religious, we will be trapped in a falsified view of truth that we are not allowed to disbelieve. 

I hate religion, the people who follow it tend to be uneducated and brainwashed. But at the same time those people who believe that what they see must be true and who declare that because they can’t see God he must not exist are just as uneducated, just as brainwashed and a whole lot more egotistical. 

The world that we perceive to be real is indeed governed by our eyes but that doesn’t mean what we are seeing is actually there. Most science that us normal people are exposed to is nothing more than basic fingerpointing, we’ve seen an apple fall every time we’ve thrown it so obviously apples fall when we throw them. There must be a force, i.e. gravity. The final argument, the last roll of the dice for a scientist, is to declare that the difference between science and religion lies in the fact that science is willing to change its view where religion is not, something they should probably point out to Galileo and Semmelweiss. However, when an apple floats and scientists see it they do not throw away their notes and reconsider the whole theory of gravity, what a scientist does is declare that there must be no gravity thereby leaving their theory intact. Maybe the point of science is to be flexible but in reality the only difference between the fingerpointers with a bible and the fingerpointers with the physics book is the label that we give them. 

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