Atom Smashers and Anti-Science

I was reading this recent article on MSN (even though I don’t count it as a reliable news source) about the LHC when I came across this paragraph…

The strange case of the planet-eating black hole serves as just one example showing how grand scientific projects can lead to a collision between science fiction and science fact. The hubbub also has led some to question why billions of dollars are being spent on a physics experiment so removed from everyday life.

Because, you know, electricity is so far removed from everyday life and there’s not real practical application for that at all…

But, curiosity-driven-research-leads-to-practical-knowledge stuff aside (and the article does talk about practical applications of atom smashers), it led me to think about something else on another level. What if the Large Hadron Collider lead to proof of, say, M Theory, that might give us answers to certain long held philosophical/religious questions like “how does the universe work?” or “where did the universe come from in the first place?”

Yet, when it comes to myths which people happen to follow religiously nobody says “why do people spend their Sunday mornings and so many hours every week doing something so far removed from the necessities of everyday life?”

Just an interesting thought there… I wonder if Answers in Genesis ever gets e-mails asking them why they bother with origins of life, something “so far removed from everyday life.”

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Wow, that is a great question to ask some people. I have noted it in my notebook for later use.

    I know certain people who use the same argument against things like space exploration as well. That’s a big issue for some people for some strange reason.

  2. Well, the problem is that this is basically veiled anti-science, and AiG aren’t exactly science…

    also, their opponents are even deeper into the study of such things than they are.

    And of course, the final thing is that they are not sucking on the tax-payer’s teat (because US taxpayers always pay for European science projects)

    (I just keep on thinking of stuff…) Also, people NEVER think about the practical stuff. Someone needs to calculate a Clarke Number, the ratio of people in a culture who believe that technology works by magic. I’d say it’s up to about 90%. “Space program’s just a waste of my taxes that could be better spent on such things as subsidising farmers to be less efficient producers or helping automobile companies from the US sell less efficient cars than their foreign competitors… what’s a satellite?”

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