Science controversy goes viral

There was a time, about 50 years ago, when thoughtful scientists and science writers  dreamed of the day that the American public would wake up to the importance of science.  Jacob Bronowski, C.P. Snow, Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov saw science as integral to life. They didn’t like the idea of science “popularization,” as if something so important and ubiquitous had to be promoted. Instead, scientific issues and controversies should be taken up and understood, and maybe even debated, by the average person.

Well, that day has arrived, in a sense. We now have the spectacle of the Average Joe, who never set foot in a science class, imagining that climate scientists are lying about  radiative forcing and the use of the Stefan-Boltzmann constant. And this is just the beginning.

As the dream of science participation is becoming realized in once unimagined ways, we may expect to see all kinds of comments about science in the future. For instance:

  • The so-called Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction theory is ridiculous!  Iridium does not kill dinosaurs !! Show me just one tiny bit of evidence that a dinosaur ever keeled over after being exposed to iridium! You cant, can you? Stupid ass scientists.   –  BJR, Lubbock, Tx.
  • It’s hard to believe anyone but an outright moron would accept the Kepert model as a modification of the valence shell electron pair repulsion theory. VSEPR theory is practically written in the Bible.  You will fry in hell, Kepert model fools! — TD, Richmond, Va.
  • Bateman’s biological principle is clearly an abomination in the sight of God. I cant tell you how repulsive it is to have this taught to my children in school.  If people didn’t believe in Bateman’s principle, biology teachers would be cast out of their lucrative $40,000 a year jobs.   When oh when will these lying scientists ever learn? — BZ, Bozeman, MT.
  • Quantum Field Theory? Ha! Just a plot by montrachet swilling mathematicians!   — YN, Portland, ME.
  • And that goes DOUBLE for the Banach–Tarski paradox!  — YN, Portland, ME.

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