Monday, October 15, 2007

Doggerel #127: "Unexplainable"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

Many of my regular readers have probably noticed that I perceive woos to be eternal pessimists. The fact that they can casually throw around the word, 'unexplainable' is one of the surest signs of their defeatism. A scientifically minded person will more sensibly put modifiers on it like, 'unexplainable under current models' or, more appropriately, 'unexplained.'

Whether the woos like it or not, people have great potential. Just because we haven't solved a problem yet doesn't mean we'll never solve it. As suggested above, a scientifically minded skeptic sees weirdness as a speed bump, not a brick wall. When we see some 'anomaly' touted by lovers of psychics, alternative "medicine," or religion, we immediately start thinking of possible explanations, up to and including flawed perceptions. Usually, the woos will begin dismissing our ideas as 'impossible' (displaying more of their naysaying) for no reason, or just pretend we never said anything.

The wonderful thing about science is that new answers lead to new questions about the order of the universe(s). We always have new things to explore and poke with various instruments. We'll always have the joy of unraveling mysteries. The typical claustrophobic woo, however, has a handful of answers for everything that involve no detail. "It's psychic power, working on unknowable principles we're incapable of delving into, much less utilizing in a meaningful manner" isn't exactly a positive attitude. It sells civilization short. It conveys an attitude that we already know everything we can know. It erects walls around us.

I'd rather take the optimistic approach and live under the idea that we're capable of understanding the world around us. Thankfully, modern civilization, whether woos appreciate it or not, is pretty compelling evidence that the universe isn't an incomprehensible mess.

1 comment:

Laser Potato said...

Warning: eating raw sewage is healthier than the BoBoBo diet.