In keeping with my previous Pluto posts, found here and here, yet more from NPR and a wonderful, informative collection of links and information from IO9, on the New Horizons Pluto mission, and the data and imagery it is generating.
It seems so ironic to me that within the past few weeks the state of Texas has been in the news for its revisionist, backwards text book standards, yet another blow against intellectualism in a nation where we have already seen a goodly portion–though, so far, thank the gods, a minority–of it’s population turn it’s back on our achievements, deny them outright, and resist following through on our self-proclaimed mandate for “American Exceptionalism.” The following post, found at the top of the comments on one of the NPR articles to which i linked, sums it up eloquently.
It happens big, and it happens small. Yesterday, my daughter sat agape at a swim meet while one of her team-mates, a pleasant though predictably awkward home-schooled young man, spoke at length upon the “folly of carbon dating” and the “facts” that prove the earth is approximately 6,000 years old. Both of my daughters are whip smart and especially adept in the sciences, but polite enough–unlike their old man–to know when to just shake their heads and keep their mouths shut. Which is what she did, though she was flabberghasted by the assault being registered by her bullshit detector, the shock magnified because the young man has expressed a strong desire to major in chemistry in college. I feel truly bad for the kid–he’s going to get pummeled, first by the adjustment to the wider world outside his cloistered bubble, and second by his faculty and classmates, when he opens his mouth and spews out that young earth nonsense.
The denial of science–and the disrespect of our legacy as innovators and explorers mentioned by the commentator above, in a great failing of our society–even as it is a great victory by the wealthy and corporate masters who would have us dumb and docile, the better to be led around the the nose–that we must resist at every juncture. We have embraced a tolerance, even though it may be a sneering tolerance, for not merely junk science, but bullshit anti-science, in the name of fairness and balance–a mantra that has it’s place in rhetoric and dialogue, but not in the exploration of proven truths.
We must defy and decry bullshit anti-science at every corner, whether it comes from Christian extremists ranting about dinosaurs not fitting on Noah’s love boat, or suburban drones complaining about vaccinations or fluoridated water, or corporate shills looking to hock goods for Monsanto, or dippy hippies vacuously exaggerating the evils of GMO crops, or corrupt corporations destroying the lives of scientists whose discoveries threaten profits, or even the millions of people who quite suddenly have developed debilitating sensitivities to gluten. We’ve become a nation divided by a swift current of scientific opinion dressed up as fact, like Sarah Palin’s lipsticked pig (speaking of making it up as one goes along.) And it needs to be stopped–so the next time you hear it, even it it’s coming from your moms, repeat after me: bull, bull, bull, bull, bull.”