Monday, November 26, 2007

The Lesson of Science

We used to think that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and we used to think that Zeus aimed the thunderbolts, and we used to think that God made the Universe and Man. What is important is not that we were wrong, but that we were sure. We held these beliefs - and enumerable others, equally wrong - in full confidence and without appeal to evidence. The lesson of Science is not that the Earth circles the Sun, or that lightning is electricity, or that Man evolved from lesser forms. Those are facts of Science, but not the lesson. The lesson of Science is that understanding must be qualified by evidence. The lesson of Science is that statements of the form, "I believe...," require the conjunction, "because." The purpose of Science is not to inform everyone who previously thought plagues the wrath of the supernatural that, in fact, there are such things as micro-organisms beyond the limits of sight. The purpose of Science is not to replace one arbitrary, absolute belief with another, however more correct. The purpose of Science is to teach that understanding must be supported - must be qualified - with repeatable experimentation and falsifiable theory. Science will never decree that, now, at last, we have the final and ultimate explanation of _____. Science will always only discover more evidence and better theories.

What is important is not that we were wrong, because we are still wrong. What is important is that we thought we were right. Now, we know why we hold what beliefs with what confidence - with what evidence - and we continue to seek better knowledge. I think this is a misconception many people have about capital 'S' Science. People assume Science is an authority of the kind to which they are used: the immaculate, supernatural kind. Science is fundamentally difference from religious explanation in that it demands evidence, not belief. Many people, I think, still misunderstand this point and it is important that this be stressed as the lesson, and the wonder, of Science.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today was a failure.

A complete, total, holistic, uncompromised, perfect failure. Nothing that needed to be done was done and everything needed not to be done was done. Anyone who suggests that we need failures in order to have successes is talking shit out of their ass and is probably a complete failure them self. We need failures in order to feel miserable about ourselves. If nobody ever failed we would all have self-respect, and imagine what kind of world that would be. Hell. It would be absolute hell and I would kill myself before I'd live in it for two minutes. If you're smiling right now, I want you to remember that I am not. Miserable, foolish, slovenly, contemptible failures like me don't smile. We just fail.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Several of my dreams in the past months have featured the common image of a colossal elevated freeway system rising hundreds of feet above the ground, with entrance ramps at 30 degree angles, spanning into the horizon like some incredible cross between spaghetti junction and the BQE. The road is featured as a major plot point in some dreams (grandma looses control of the car on a steep entrance ramp as she tries to commit suicide), and functions only as a set piece in others. I'm open to interpretations.

The only thing worse than a beautiful person is a group of beautiful people.