Yes you read that unnecessarily long headline correctly. How depressing is that? There is something deeply amiss with the world today, although to be fair it has always been pretty fucked. World Wars, the plague, horned helmeted hordes and so on. These days, most of us are not immediately under threat and we have better means of seeing the world and all its flaws. And seeing how bollocks a lot of it is. We can do all this thanks to science.
Some people – morons or poorly educated mostly – seem to think of science as some kind of elite white jacketed group with their own agenda. Like a political party or all organized religions for example. This is not the case. Anyone can be a scientist and they all disagree, question and compete with each other. You are allowed to question and the consequences won’t be being kicked out of your politcal party or burnt at the stake. Science is simply the quest for knowledge. If you are interested in something you can do a test yourself and then write about it. You. At home right now. If your study is convincing more scientists and interested laymen will try and pick holes in your work. If it’s still sound they might conduct different experiments to see if your theory still holds true.
The only reason why science can be hard to get into is that it usually helps if you know a bit about your topic. A lot of science builds on what went before. It also helps if you learn scientific method so you can conduct a decent experiment. Other than that anyone can go for it and it is a noble pursuit. Read a science magazine they are great.
To be fair the scientific method wasn’t really in action around the time of Jesus. The first 1000 years was a struggle to survive against invasions and famines (although there was a bit of experimenting with farming and fun with fertilizers). Then religion pretty much kept everyone in check and in poverty for half a millennium. Then, thankfully, the renaissance happened and people were allowed to start looking at things that might make life better. I’m just talking the UK here. We started the industrial revolution and invented trains and TVs and computers and the Worldwide Web, for example. Other countries were also inventing things like cars and flying machines. Most of this on very little funding. In Britain the average person’s life and their life expectancy has improved decade after decade and it is nearly all down to science.
So let’s hear it for science. Imagine what we could achieve with a bit more cash. It would be nice if we could invade a few less countries, start a few less government campaigns that haven’t been fully thought through and perhaps persuade bankers that if they donated 10% of their bonuses to the betterment of mankind they may be more popular, and maybe mankind will progress a bit quicker.
Just a thought.
In case you are wondering where I heard the headline first, it was uttered by the always awesome Professor Brian Cox. Thanks to science, you can see it here: