The difference between “about science” and science

May 15, 2012 by Joshua
in Blog, Nature

Somebody showed me yet another artistic representation about discoveries about nature and the people who made the discoveries. I think she expected that since I like science I would like those representations.

I saw them as new age-y. For a long time, since I never knew a concrete definition of the term new age, though the Wikipedia page seems to describe it well, I substituted the words “feeble-minded” every time I heard the term. The substitution has never steered me wrong. I don’t mean to insult new age thinking. I just genuinely find it feeble-minded and any time I’ve found it otherwise, the difference hasn’t been meaningful.

I sometimes do yoga and meditate. I have long hair. People ask me to help motivate them and understand themselves better. You see these things in new age circles. But I think new age thinking has co-opted those things, and they existed long before new age did. I find it feeble-minded because it seems to love its impression of science without understanding it. I find it like fat people wearing workout clothes but not exercising.

In my experience science is an activity. Doing it is like doing sports, not watching them. I’ve observed new age to be about observing without doing.

I don’t like hearing about quantum-body-mind therapeutic touch, the infinite possibilities of things, and the wonderful possibilities that science enables from people who have never done experiments themselves. I find so much more beauty in nature from curiosity-driven experimentation than eternal optimism driven, uncritical infinite-consciousness.

Maybe this makes me intolerant or snobby. I don’t know. Still, I like my science based in experiment, skepticism, and criticism, not made into art to refine how it looks from how it works. It’s like over-processed white bread.

In other words, I prefer this, which I find rich with meaning and usefulness,

maxwell equations

to this, which I find, shall we say, less meaningful or useful.

new age symbols

Although those new age symbols remind me of this, which I like a lot.


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