Sometimes just a lovable crank

28 July 2006

I am on the email list for a newsletter that is pretty much equal parts alert about issues, information about events, and head-shaking about its author. The following, though, is pretty much what I’ve been saying for a while about science. It is nice to see some realistic analysis of the corner that many scientists have painted themselves into.

WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 28 Jul 06 Washington, DC

1. BLEEP: IT IS PHYSICS THAT UNLEASHED THIS PLAGUE ON MANKIND.
Some suggested that I take refuge behind the Geneva Convention or
the Eighth Amendment rather than watch the film What the Bleep Do
We Know. It was penance for allowing myself to be used on ABC’s
Primetime, where Adam Dreamhealer attributed his awesome power
to “quantum mechanics.” In “Bleep” every spiritual claim becomes
an example of “consciousness” acting through quantum mechanics.
In physics, unfortunately, the word “consciousness” is invariably
followed by bullshit. Having found a way to make incredibly
precise predictions at the atomic level, we chose to ignore the
fact that we don’t understand it. After all, QM has transformed
the world. We now flaunt the fact that no one understands
quantum mechanics. We have begun to enjoy being high priests of
a mystical religion. It’s like giving Mass in Latin.

Also from Bob Parks in the same newsletter, the following it-would-sound-like-conspiracy-theory-except-that-it’s-true:

4. NASA: “OUR HOME PLANET” IS REMOVED FROM MISSION STATEMENT.
On 3 Feb, after NASA climate scientist James Hansen told the NY
Times he was being harassed for speaking out about greenhouse gas
emissions http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN06/wn020306.html ,
NASA Chief Michael Griffin issued a “scientific openness” policy.
However, on 6 Feb, the phrase, “understand and protect our home
planet,” was quietly removed from the NASA mission statement. It
had been cited by Hansen to justify his remarks.

Scary. And representative of a trend created by convergance with the first quote.

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