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Discussion 1 to Talk Back 57
Not every single opinion is equally valid

by Maarten van den Driest

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The general discussion on science that currently rages through our society is a turbulent, chaotic affair involving generous amounts of effort but rarely an ounce of produce. It is true that, in a free world, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion but that doesn't mean every single opinion is equally valid.

Fortunately enough, the debate is free for anyone to enter but so is the stock market. Usually, when people lose their money, they realise they've been beaten and go off to other pursuits. However, when people lose an argument, this type of self-knowledge is quite rare and people just stay in.

For some reason, this is particularly the case with science.

No one who doesn't really speak English tries to correct Shakespeare, no city dweller would dare bother a genuine farmer about his work. Everyone understands this and thinks it common sense. Why then, is science - which is just common sense applied to evidence - suddenly a free-for-all?

Mr. DeLucchi asks "The sky is blue. Why?"

The answer is clear: it is Rayleigh Scattering. This can be found on the Internet, using any search engine you like, in less than one minute. Any scientist in a relevant field will probably be able to rattle this off.

Mr. DeLucchi however gives us an entirely wrong answer based on the entirely wrong assumption that light has seven colours. It doesn't. Even the English language recognizes more. Perhaps he is referring to the seven colours of the rainbow, but this really refers to numerous colours, grouped for convenience into seven spectrums of colour.

I'm quite uncertain what 'calculating the value of zero' would mean, as it's not a variable.

Some of the other answers don't sound so bad but clearly Mr. DeLucchi's knowledge in scientific affairs is dismal. This is nothing to be ashamed about, lots of people don't know anything about science. However, just as bartenders shouldn't bother builders and car salesmen shouldn't pester carpenters, non-experts shouldn't bother scientists. Even genuine scientists should mainly stay in their own field.

The experts that Mr. DeLucchi names are all pre-Christian by the way and they all worked from a materialistic view of the world when they got their big ideas. The big Greeks also wrote a lot of nonsense by the way, such as that women have less molars than men. The only thing he shows is that even technologically primitive people can find out a lot if only they think rationally.

From his reply to Meditation 321, as far as I can make it out, I gather that Mr. DeLucchi's reasons are intensely emotional. His belief in God is literally, if we are to believe him, the only thing he has in life. I sympathize actually, it must be terrible to live in deprivation, never knowing whether you will make it through the day or not. However, this is not the fault of science, materialism, rational thinking and certainly not the fault of Darwin's theories. No amount of agonising and attacks on those bad scientists who don't literally follow his personally set of myths will ever do anything for anyone.

Science is a little candle of light in the darkness of prejudice and personal whim. Science is the only thing that stops us thinking just whatever makes us feel good.

Religion can be an inspiring, powerful force for good. It can provide answers to those questions that science can't even ask. It can explain why we sometimes feel bad about ourselves and also how to get through that. It can bind people together in the good and the bad times, bring the best out of us. I have first-hand experience as evidence. However, I have also seen the bad sides: literalism, closed-mindedness, coldness, evangelism.. usually when religion goes out and fights battles on foreign shores.

Mr. DeLucchi, please accept that your faith is a wonderful thing with limits, not a miraculous magic wand that you only have to wave to settle all questions. Leave science to the scientists, they already leave belief to the believers.