Day’s Verse:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.
Luke 2:14

I learned that bears don’t actually hibernate. They go dormant, and there’s a difference. This makes me wonder about all the other science “facts” I’ve learned: Have they, too, been simplified to the point of incorrectness? Am I really made of atoms, or am I mostly just empty space?

5 thoughts on “Scary Science Secrets

  1. It occurs to me that “science” is really just people’s work, ideas, theories and, sometimes, wishful thinking. And people are flawed and never perfect.

  2. Just don’t tell me that raindrops aren’t really shaped like that!

    Dad’s pic of Carmel is really adorable, btw, and it’s framed really well.

  3. Deborah, you said: It occurs to me that “science” is really just people’s work, ideas, theories and, sometimes, wishful thinking. And people are flawed and never perfect.

    I concur that because people are imperfect, nothing humans make can achieve perfection. Yet, I can’t totally agree with you about your suggested claim that science (omitting your scare quotes, since that suggests it’s not actually real) isn’t reliable because it’s “only” “ideas, theories, and […] wishful thinking.” It’s not just some people’s work; it’s the work of thousands (millions?) of different people over centuries, and that makes a difference. The fact that so many people have contributed means that “wishful thinking” doesn’t get perpetrated in true science (I’m excluding hypotheses about aliens, etc). Basically, thousands of heads are better than a few.

    Also, I’d warn against discarding “theories,” which you seem to lump in with “wishful thinking.” There’s a scientific definition of theory that differs from the lay definition. Scientific: When something achieves the status of a theory, that explanation has gone through the scientific refiner more than you can imagine. Scientific peers have sought to disprove it to their best ability; it’s been scrutinized and tested. It’s not just a token effort; people try their best to disprove it. When it’s clear that nobody can disprove it or offer a better explanation, then it’s accepted as a theory. This will be discarded when a more comprehensive explanation comes up, or when it’s categorically disproven.

    For the rest of my comment, let me make a comparison.

    The Christian church gathers together to learn, to discuss ideas with one another, to support one another, to check and be sure everybody’s on the same track. This way, wrong thinking doesn’t get perpetrated; instead, you as an individual can question other peoples’ ideas and check them against your faith, what the Bible says, and other things you know to be true.

    The scientific community behaves in a similar manner. People may have crackpot ideas, or make things up, but those ideas don’t stay around because they don’t coincide with the extant knowlege. Scientists take their current knowledge and see if new ideas jive with that; they do experiments to test the validity of hypotheses (when possible); they rigorously try to explain phenomena. I would argue that almost all of science is rock-solid and trustworthy, and that new scientific exploration seeks to maintain that standard. It’s not just ideas or theories. It’s as true as Christian faith.

    Colleen: I’m sorry, but raindrops…

    Also, about Dad’s picture, I’m not sure if I like it. It’s too sharp if you look at it large. The hairs are harshly delineated, and the lighting is equally harsh compared to the blackness. Also, I’d like to see less of the floor–it makes you wonder if the dog or the floor is the subject, almost.

  4. Here’s my 2 cents’ worth…
    I thought the subject of the photo was the rug that protects our new carpet, but now that you mention it, there IS a dog in the shot. 🙂

    aren’t raindrops actually cubes if you look at them just right?

    My only comment on the “theories” issue is that since few of us lay folk outside of the science fields use that term with its rigorous meaning in mind, it’s similar to our penchant for exclaiming, “Eww! Get that bug off me!” before we really look closely to discern whether the carapace on the thorax is actually triangular…

    A poem I just read by Australian writer Bruce Dawe begins with the line
    “One constant in a world of variables” – now isn’t THAT a picture?

  5. Well, I’ve never heard the term “scare quotes” but I used quotes because the word “science” is pretty huge in scope and and the quotes were meant to convey, “whatever that is, exactly.” I really want to respond to you privately but don’t have time right now. I’ll send email after we get home; probably Wednesday sometime.

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