Welcome to The Study where I will take an aspect of the latest Just the Facts and delve in to it in a deep and meaningful way in order to bring further clarity to that aspect.
I would hope that you leave here having confusion and uncertainty wiped from your brain and carry instead a full understanding of what exactly is going on here.
This week, owing to the number of facts that had a scientific nature – but I could say anything about yesterday’s post because no one apparently presses the link to check when I put one in – I am looking at the subject of science more objectively, testing my theories and publishing the results here so that anyone else can try testing them and, of course, agreeing with them.
Science is the process by which humans have discovered absolutely everything they know about the mechanics of why everything is the way it is. Not many have absolutely understood everything themselves but each of them has understood a whole lot – or in the case of Quantum scientists, very little – about a particular part of everything.
A lot of people believe that science started with the Ancient Greeks, Thales, Archimedes, Aristotle and the like, who started questioning how stuff did what it already did before they even thought of asking the questions. Science was invented basically to work out how to repeatedly make it do it again.
However it was a caveman called Erk who first pondered the first really important scientific questions, such as ‘How fast does a spear with a sharp flint head have to go to make sure I can take a nice bit of mammoth home for supper?‘ and ‘Which berries was Mrs Erk eating just before she suddenly dropped dead?‘
(At this point, you may ask why the stereotypical caveman wasn’t called Ug. Ug was Erk’s grandad but Erk does have the distinction of his name still being used in modern language, although it has changed along the way and is now spelt ‘Oik’ in the countryside and ‘Chav’ in cities.)
Without Erk managing to answer these really solid first questions about his surroundings, the Greeks wouldn’t have existed and worked out the best ways to find the area of a circle when you needed to, how to reliably move water to where you’d prefer it to be or the best way to fold a toga so it didn’t have any creases when you put a clean one on.
Even the Ancient Greeks, and a lot of the younger ones, knew that no one person could understand everything so individuals started studying particular and differing areas of interest in the things around them, thus the spheres of Astronomy, Botany and Earth Sciences were pursued. Spheres were in all of them, so that was a handy word to know.
After getting through many volunteers the Botanists finally answered Erk’s queries about berries and invented ways to make clothing smell nice. Earth Scientists eventually worked out how much of a drop a man could reliably survive using the leftover volunteers. They also worked out how to mend broken legs and that man wasn’t ready to fly yet.
The Astronomers were a special lot who liked to provide really solid evidence for everything they found out with logic and mathematics and with the confident air of people who knew that everything was too far away for anyone to go off and check.
Of course there are now many more sciences than before as each area of study has become more specialist. Then those again split into ever smaller and more divided elements. The total energy is not lost in the system but it has tended to dissipate into ever more separated processes.
As time has gone on, which itself is a principle that scientists now think they’ve understood relatively well, many advances have been made in all sorts of spheres and other shapes but there are still many questions.
We can thank current scientists for working on those new questions; theorising, experimenting, testing and sharing the answers with whoever paid them to find out. Then we can buy the products.
As ordinary people, we often find their work will throw up an occasional practical gem that we can be very positive about, like how we can rewarm a cold cup of tea in a microwave oven in under a minute or how to put a man on the moon and then have him come back again in exactly the same condition as we sent him but more famous.
In general, science has advanced many things in a tangible way for most of us, take the fact that you are able to read my words on this blog for example.
Or you can think of something better yourself.
However it is difficult to understand that we ordinary people, and the scientists among us, are still battling those who still apparently need even more power and money than they already have, to accept that Mars is too cold and too bloody far away to set up there and have another go when we’ve completely messed this planet up.
We need scientists help more than ever now, otherwise we’ll be back with Erk and rebuilding it all from scratch and hoping one of us remembers how to start a fire with two sticks.