Holding Back All Mankind

(Picture from here.)

I haven’t done a lot of blogging in the last couple of years. And I’ve done almost no science blogging.

There are a lot of reasons for this.

I’ve been pretty busy. Work has been very busy. I really like what I do– I’m part of a team building a space craft– but it’s demanding.

I’ve also been doing a lot of writing. I do have a very active outside-of-work-and-writing life as evidenced by the garden posts. There’s a lot of non-writing creative things I’m trying: glass work, wood working, etc.

That’s not all of it.

I like to blog about human accomplishments. This is usually about science and technology since that’s what I find interesting.

Science is fundamentally hopeful: we hope we can know what we want to know. That’s a hope as opposed to a faith. Hope can be wrong and countered by results or observation. Faith persists beyond results and observation.

For example, we have proven to ourselves that there is a portion of the universe that cannot be observed by us because the speed of light limits what can reach us. We can only see the observable universe. Certainly, we had hopes that we would be able to observe the entire universe if we had sufficient technology. That hope has proven to be impossible.

(This might be one of the primary conflicts between science and some religion. Science chooses hope against faith and religion chooses faith against hope. In science, all things must be proven and anything can be disproved by results. Not so true with some religions.)

Therefore, to engage in science even at the reporting level as I’ve been here in this blog is to engage in hope.

I am truly moved when people do wonderful things. In science. In the arts. In human lives. It speaks to what we are capable of– and we are truly capable of great things. We stand on the cusp of solving many really hard problems: global warming, distribution of food and technology, eliminating many diseases.

On each of these fronts we are in our own way. We call global warming a hoax. We disable or fail to address distribution infrastructures and toss the best means of preventing disease we have ever created– vaccination– out the window.

It is disheartening.

I keep trying to rally this but so far I haven’t been as successful as I would like.

I’ll keep trying.

I keep remembering this little speech of Stan’s in the Biggest Douche in the Universe episode in South Park:

Because the big questions in life are tough: Why are we here? Where are we from? Where are we going? But if people believe in asshole douchey liars like you, we’re never gonna find the real answer to those questions. You aren’t just lying, you’re slowing down the progress of all mankind, you douche! (From here.)

That’s what I think about a lot of what is going on today with labeling actual facts as Fake News or declaring important science as hoaxes.

We’re not just denying reality. We’re holding back all mankind.




Holding Back All Mankind — 2 Comments

  1. Disheartening is the word, all right. I grew up believing that science–and the quest for knowledge and understanding–was the greatest good (or one of them: kindness and creativity are two others). There seems to be a portion of the citizenry around the world who find this actively offensive. “You think you’re so smart!” or something. But the quest for knowledge starts from the place where there are things you don’t know or haven’t figured out, and investigating.

  2. This sounds very much like the way I feel. We’re on the cusp of great and positive change, but we’re being sidetracked by people out to make money out of destroying our future even though they can’t take it with them. I’m trying to write stories in which at least some of that change comes through and we survive (and perhaps eventually prosper), but some days it is slow going.