Science, Baby

Scientists have a tendency, and don’t tell me they don’t, to reduce the world to their sphere of knowledge. This tendency isn’t confined to scientists, of course, so scientists are no different than anyone else in this respect. The difference is that scientists claim to know. Yes, they do sometimes know, in the pure sense of the word, but their knowledge is bounded, just like everyone else’s. They act and speak within the sphere of their own knowledge.
I have no problem with a scientist who does that while being aware of the boundaries of his own knowledge, but I believe that most scientists don’t think that way. Some scientists would say: those are not real scientists! Well, yeah. They are humans, and thus subjective beings, and they, just like everyone else, act within the boundaries of their beliefs. That these beliefs are supported by objective evidence is neither her nor there, since this evidence is always limited. Limited, if not by the views of the scientists themselves, then by the limits of human perception and the possibilities of measurement.
Many scientists claim that nothing cannot be measured. Maybe they are even right, but the fat lady hasn’t sung on that note yet. Even if they were right, we can be sure that the human race is a damned long way from that point. A damned long way, I mean, like, millennia. So we should be careful about making decisions based upon the evidence that scientists give us.
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Okay, some evidence is better than none, right? I am not so sure about that. It seems to me that, when we are talking about a world which has evolved over billions of years, we should be very careful about making decisions based on limited evidence from the last few hundred years, or, in some cases, the last few decades, or even the last few months. Whoa, baby, just a second there.
Let us assume that everything can be measured, that everything can be observed. And understood. That is perhaps the catch, no? Even if we assume that everything can be observed, can we assume that it will be properly understood? Infinite variables, quantified one against another? Fuck it, let us assume that every single thing can be implicitly known and understood (I know, the idea itself is absurd, but let’s just try). So, science has observed, measured, and understood everything. That’s the wet dream of science, isn’t it? Quantify it all, God help us; yeah, that God in which I don’t believe. Alright, so, we know it all. Now what?
I said I’d define ‘nature’. Hah, I lied. Nature is undefinable, by my definition. Nature is everything that happens, including the production of ‘synthetics’ by human beings. There is no way to produce things that are ‘unnatural’, unless you’re into the occult. I dare you to produce a devil. A real, bonafide, evil devil which will eat my soul (don’t have one, but that’s beside the point). Even if you did manage it, it’d be a natural product. Nothing, and I mean nothing, occurs outside of nature. A smart-ass would say: so nothing is unnatural? Yep. Nothing is the only thing that is unnatural. The only thing that can’t possibly be is nothing. There has never been, and never will be, nothing. There has always been something. Well, maybe someday science will prove me wrong, but by then I’ll be long dead (eons, baby), having been and still being something.
That sounds like religion, doesn’t it? An undying soul. Bit it’s not my soul that will never die, it’s the sub-atomic particles I am made of, and sub-sub-atomic particles, and the sub-sub-sub . . . They aren’t particles anymore at all, but rather the material of which something consists. Of which everything consists. I am convinced that we, as humans, will never know what we consist of at the most basic level. We are prisoners of the limits of our understanding.
In fact, I agree with the scientists. I truly believe that everything is measurable. But I don’t think we can measure it, no matter how deep we delve. We are limited by our biology, and we will never, ever get to the bottom of it all. And that’s the way of it. That’s natural, just as natural as the fact that we will never stop trying.
How will you scientist ever quantify my drunken thoughts? How will you capture the way I feel? How will you quantify the drunken idiots that I hear outside my window at this moment, down at the corner bar?
You never will. You wouldn’t want to. But these are the things that make up our daily lives. The feeling I have when I roll a cigarette, when I go take a God damned piss. Well, the time will come when they’ll investigate even that, but do you think that’ll help them?
Nah. They’ll just get lost in details, like they always have. It’s the human condition, detailing, categorizing . . . that’s the secrets of our ascendence. But there’s a limit to that. I believe we are pretty near the end of that road. Shit, I feel sorry for humanity, because I honestly don’t see how we can get over that hurdle. The scientists are just a logical step in our progress. They can’t help themselves. The question is whether we can progress beyond that phase. I doubt it very much, but, of course, I am just as much a victim of my times as anyone else. I can’t see the future, I can only extrapolate.
So, I imagine a future in which science has taken over. Science is your government, science is . . . God. The song I am hearing now, Candela, from Buena Vista Social Club, is long forgotten. Lovely horns and guitar. Science reigns, a science which has, long since, quantified these rhythms and melodies (Hellstrøm takes a short break to chew the dried algae bar lying before him, because that is all, all that is left to him). Beautiful new world, ain’t it?
Rationalization. That’s what science will be about. They won’t give a fuck what you think, because they’ve already quantified your thoughts. Tell me of a time when, ultimately, those in power didn’t make use of such knowledge. Humans aren’t stupid; well, not completely.
I’ll tell you something that gets on my nerves. I have wireless headphones. I go into the fucking kitchen, and I get disconnected from my music. It comes and goes. Y’know, I’m a technical person, I gotta deal with computers and technical shit the whole day at work, I solve technical problems every fucking day. And here I am now, wishing that my wireless headphones would simply work. ’So this is science,‘ I say to myself. ’Ain’t no wonder people have no faith in it, it only works half the time, if at all. Perhaps there is yet hope that the scientists will not take over…‘

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Spell-checkers Cause Illiteracy

I can’t spell a damn thing anymore. I can’t type either, not really, never could. I am fairly quick, with three fingers from each hand workin’ the keys, which just manages to match the speed of my sluggish thoughts. But I used to be able to spell properly… until the automatic spelling correction started fucking things up.
I used to stop and think, occasionally, when I was writing and used an uncommon word. I’d ask myself for a millisecond whether I’d spelled it right, and if there was the slightest doubt in my mind I’d look it up in a dictionary after finishing what I was writing. Through the occasional renewal, review and supplementation of my knowledge that occurred naturally in this way I continued to be a good speller.
Spelling
No longer. I haven’t had to look a word up in a real dictionary for a year at least. The knowledge I had deteriorates because the machine makes the corrections for me, on the fly. And if the machine is in doubt, it pops up a bloody menu where I can lazily peruse what it considers to be possible correct alternatives for the indecipherable nonsense I’ve just typed in a drunken tizzy.
My spelling gets worse and worse. And soon, I fear I may lose my ability to read, as if were coupled somehow with the ability to spell, to decode all those little ciphers that make up a word, to juggle them in your mind’s eye until they fit your thoughts or your thoughts fit theirs. So I’ll need a computer to assist me with that, too. Oh, wait, I already have that. An mp3-player, great audio books, a program that will read from a text-document to me. Reading becomes unnecessary… and soon enough what I type will be so full of errors that the computer will throw up its hands in dismay and decide to just write the whole damned text for me. With that, writing has died out across the world, except for what the computers send back and forth, believing they are dealing with humans. And Humans writing gibberish to nirvana. God only knows what insanity will arise thereof.
As you may have noticed I’ve been traveling time in this rant. All that stuff will take hundreds of years to happen. So don’t worry about it.