Friday, October 23, 2009

Nobody argues about real science

If you are anything like me, your first reaction to such a statement, "Nobody argues about real science", is an urge to argue about it.

Which I can understand. 

Now before you read the very long rambling half baked ideas behind this audacious topic, and if you are the kind of person who is easily annoyed, and short of time, (in which case why are you even reading some blog), here is the short version.
Real science is the kind that any rational intelligent person can comprehend, understand, and an experiment can demonstrate the science.  Repeatedly.

Nobody argues about it because the experiment or demonstration shows what happens.  And even if it isn't understood why, what happens is still observable.

So nobody argues about it. (update Aug 8 2015, yes they actually do)

The long version.

I was thinking about another topic, and rather than respond, I thought for a while about the very idea of arguing about a scientific matter.   Why does anyone argue about science?

I ran down several paths in the mind, and all of them ended in eternal arguments.  This reminded me of several topics online, as well as several Wikipedia articles, which are eternal battle grounds.  While the matter is in the realm of science, it is an argument.

So I thought about physics, about hard science, about things we take for granted, physical reality, the laws of physics, things that anyone can demonstrate, can do experiments to see what is what.

Then there are the everyday scientific realities that probably don't even have a science experiment about them.  We all know about these things long before we get to first grade.  Real things, like running into objects, and what happens when we impact an immovable object with our legs.  Or our nose.  What happens in the very real sense of our experience.

Things like what happens if you fall and hit the ground.  While mundane and seemingly not scientific, they are, in essence, science of a concrete matter.  Nobody argues against hard science.  Real hard science.  Not even people who hate science argue about the hard science.

OK maybe somewhere some how somebody might, because it is possible in our vast planet people might believe and say anything.  But in the real world, with real rational people, nobody argues about hard science.  (If you have had an online argument where somebody argues that running into solid objects doesn't hurt, well, I guess my whole topic just went to hell).

I'm speaking strictly of a certain kind of scientific knowledge that is shared by everyone.

Hard science, real science, the kind where the result is obvious.  Where the same thing always happens. 

Like physics.  Or math.  Simple math, not the hard kind with symbols that somebody made up and only really smart math people can even understand what is being discussed. 

So I came up with the phrase, "Nobody argues about real science".  Like when you drop something heavy and it falls.  Or you hit a window pane with a big hammer and it breaks.  Nobody says something like, "Well, you know, just because you hit that window really hard with that hammer, that doesn't mean it caused the window to break", nobody would say that.  And if they did, well, we would make fun of them or something.  Or sue them, depending on circumstances.

The same goes for gravity, or electricity, or magnetism, or heat, or mixing an acid with a base, or throwing things into a fire.  Real science is the kind where you can do the experiment your self, and you damn well know what will happen.  Every time. 

Nobody argues about real science.  But things that are not settled, that can't be settled, boy do people argue about them.

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