Writing Prompts: Science and Lies

Originally posted on The Coalition of the Brave.

The Crab Nebula

In order to seek inspiration for Writing Prompts, I sometimes ‘travel’ the web. On my travels, I have encountered many different points of view, and some… let’s call them fascinating takes on science (see the Flat Earth discussion here, and commentary on Faith Healing here). It is almost invariably those who are devoutly religious, to the point of regarding their holy texts as literal truth, will reject any and all evidence that contradicts them, and to them, observations of the cosmos fall into the category of lies.

There is the notion that astronomers ‘created’ the origin theory of the universe, instead of observing the universe and drawing conclusions from the evidence. This notion is preposterous. When people first pointed telescopes at the sky, they did so with no pre-conceived ideas of what they might find. Their observations did not marry up to established dogma; that does not make those observers liars. Such a claim would require observers of the cosmos to be deliberately, wilfully misleading others, and that’s not what’s going on here.

I find the denial of science, especially when it’s obvious, to be offensive. Decry science all you want. Claim it to be a hot-bed of heathens and God-deniers, but if you do all of that, are you prepared to give up all the tools that science has yielded us? Are you going to give up your car? Will you forgo putting your perishable foods in a fridge or freezer? Do you intend on switching off your phone and computer forever?

The pursuit of knowledge, and the innovations we’ve managed from that pursuit, are made possible by people who have no pre-conceived notions of what the universe is. They watch, they study, they test, and they learn. From that, we have the technologies we have today. None of that is the result of lies. All people prove when they make such claims is that they do not understand science.

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