Science and Pseudo-Science


“It was reported that a  joint study by Penn State University and the NASA Planetary Science Division that “A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilization may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand…. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilizational expansion could be detected by an ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence) because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions.” I read this on my computer. I will confess I don’t know how seriously this is to be taken, but it was not posted on April 1. For quite some time now, I have abandoned my trust in what some so-called scientists announce to the public. Respectable, chaste, and unadulterated  science seems to have become a thing of the past. Gone are the eras of Galileo and Huygens, Bernoullis and Euler, Laplace and Ampère, Faraday and Maxwell, Bohr and Pauli. Those were the times  when science was a disinterested quest to unravel the roots of perceived reality. Then it was an ardent and selfless search, tainted only by a desire for credit and recognition of priority: common human failings, but these do not tarnish the purity of the investigations, by and large. But now we live in an age when science has been corrupted by a variety of external forces: It is constrained by government interference, its findings are tampered with for business interests, its growth is sometimes stifled for economic/industrial gains, its truth-content is exaggerated for proving or discrediting religion, its claims  and goals are influenced by  grant moneys, its pursuit is directed towards national security and weapons hunger, its findings are distorted to correspond to ancient visions,  and now again its practitioners engage in embarrassing pseudoscience. I am inclined to think that the above news item is an example of the last kind of poison that has brought science down from her classical pedestal, unless, of course, it is a cleverly concocted spoof  of the kind of nonsense that is sometimes propagated as science these days. In any case, if research funds are used to establish these sorts of scary truths to the effect that aliens are watching us for terrestrial landing en masse in order to destroy us because our excessive carbon foot print will affect their safety, then there is something seriously wrong, not with the mental make-up of ETs, but with ourselves.

As I see it, it is also a colossal  waste of tax-payer’s money to fund researches of this kind.

August 23, 2011

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About Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.
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