Stevieslaw:My Voices Column for September

From Whole Cloth: The Less-Intelligent-than-average American Guide to Science and Nature:

In Ethan Canin’s title story from his prize winning collection, a retired high school biology and astronomy teacher listens in one night as his next door neighbor identifies the stars and constellations for his teenage son. “It was direct and scientific, and he was lying to his son about what he knew. “These,” he said, “these are the Mermaid’s Tail, and south you can see the three peaks of Mount Olympus, and then the sword that belongs to the “Emperor of the Air.”

In a recent study in the United States, researchers found that only 1 in 7500 citizens over the age of ten knows that there is a world outside of their den and that the athletes and entertainers they watched on their TV set are real people. When coupled with our fine understanding of the scientific method, which we define as a thought, based on nothing special, that must be prefaced with the phrase “in my opinion,” we, as a nation, have a unique opportunity to create our own names and descriptions for all the scientific wonders we’ve never had a clue about. We can also pretend to know how they work and what the consequences of their uses are. That is the reason we, at Stevieslaw, are thrilled to publish, From Whole Cloth: The LAGuide to Science and Nature. Use the guide to turn your stunning lack of understanding—a liability in a reasonable world—into an incredible asset, using many of the same techniques that the blowhards on Cable TV use to their advantage. Some of the techniques you will learn about in the guide are:

1. Sounds like: You are confused by terms like Higgs Boson because you haven’t made the “sounds like” connection. Could the Higgs Boson be the last remaining American Bison? No, but no one else knows that either. Connect the boson to the bison. Perhaps the last remaining boson is currently is the San Diego Zoo. Higgs? A nickname given the Boson by Delores Simpson, an adorable three year old girl, trying to say the word “hugs,” to the remarkably ugly 3000 pound creature.

2. Mythologize: That’s right. Just make it up. In the guide, we will invent enough history to show you that all of these scientific names were made up in the first place. Moreover, they were usually made up to aggrandize the name of the person that got there first. Take Avogadro’s number for example. A household name if there ever was one. Since we no longer know what it means, why not give it a name we can at least spell? And why not have 3 billion names for the Ebola virus? How could it hurt? I suppose it might even make for great conversation, though only for a short while. Right now, Stevies law can be simply expressed as—all action has an equal and opposite reaction—which we might have thought of long before that guy that got hit by an apple, if only he had waited.

3. Rely on the experts: As the Guide carefully explains, the difficulty here is in determining who the experts are. Do you rely on the physicists, with their complicated equations, biologists, with their extensive fossil records, and climate scientists, with their massive computer codes, to explain the origin or the universe, evolution and global warming, or do you go with the radio talk show host—a former grocery store owner from Topeka? The guide will, through countless examples, convince you to rely on your intuition— easily a match for a good education, in choosing an expert to follow. Go with the guy who makes you feel like a smarty!

4. Blame god: Recently, on Facebook we found excerpts from a creationist science text, “Science 4 Christian Schools,” that declared “Electricity is a mystery. No one has ever observed it or heard it or felt it.” Sure, some snots from as early as 2750 BC might disagree, but it’s not the statement, but the principle behind the statement that is topic of the guide. We will introduce you to the amazing principle of “least expenditure of mental energy.” Sure it sounds difficult, but we guarantee that it will be the last thing you will ever have to learn. What’s more, you probably know a number of people already practicing it. In our world, it is Aunt Edith, who has maintained the same position on her couch continuously for forty years while watching professional wrestling and sipping lime Gatorade and vodka. Recognizing the principle will allow you to smilingly explain away any troublesome science with a conversation ending, “it’s god’s will.” Will you be ignoring several thousand years of human progress. Of course! But it will allow you to retain just enough mental energy to, for example, get the correct phone number for your American Idol vote.

Buy the Guide wherever the Guide is sold. Use it to explain the world of science and nature. Perhaps with practice you too can become a radio talk show personality.

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3 Responses to Stevieslaw:My Voices Column for September

  1. stevieslaw says:

    Reblogged this on Stevie's Law and commented:

    An old Voices of Central PA. piece that is perfect for our post-truth, bannonian world.

    Like

  2. Melvina says:

    Your posting really stegrahtenid me out. Thanks!

    Like

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