I would like to introduce some controversies to these pages that have, I feel, been absent far too long.
The other writers on these pages, for instance, take it for granted with what I do not dare to call a complacent certitude, but it’s certainly not an un-complacent un-certitude, that the Earth revolves around the sun. This was explained to me when I was 12 and I understood it then, but as time has passed I have grown less sure. I know much more about the world now than I did when I was 12, or at least people often tell me so when asking me to appear on panels. What I do know is that at night the sun goes away, and then in the morning it comes up. In the interim I am always very frightened and it is quite, quite dark.
Maybe most scientists are right to agree and the data does tend to indicate that the Earth revolves around the sun, but then again, who knows? Hillary Clinton would not have campaigned at all if she were not convinced that the world revolved around HER (I have been saving this up since 2007!) and that, I think, is that. Clinton did not win the election and from that we can deduce a great many things.
Science is about humility. Humility, fasting, prayer and the heaping of ashes upon heads with loud lamentations. Is it science I’m thinking of? I was pretty sure it was science when I started the sentence but now I wonder if it might not be something different.
Who has the answers to any questions about the world? I don’t, and I can’t imagine other people would. The other day the weatherman said that there was an 86 percent chance of rain, and I said, I don’t think it will rain, and then it didn’t rain. So who was right after all, that man with his numbers and so-called expertise, or me, with my common sense? You know another map that had unexpected red areas on it? Hillary Clinton’s electoral map.
Some scientists say that what they have are not answers but theories, and that they will readily abandon those theories when the evidence ceases to support them, but I am pretty sure they won’t. Who’s bitterly clinging now? We won the election of 2016.
Scientists are mean men who like to lock cats in boxes with vials of poison. Why would you listen to them?
Also, in the interim between high school — the last time anyone taught me any science — and the present, I had a lunch with a very sensible man who might have been tangentially connected to the fossil fuel industry but probably wasn’t, and he said some things that made me think.
I know I don’t know anything. But here’s the thing: Maybe nobody knows anything. Otherwise that would mean that there were people who knew more than me, and that can’t be correct.
Who among us can say that they understand science? Not me, and Bill Nye the Science Guy has become so political these days that I don’t even want to hear from him. Who dares profess himself my better without traducing the whole spirit of democracy? In vino, veritas.
It is important that we question everything. Starting from the premise that Hillary Clinton is wrong, let us go over the world with a fine-toothed comb. What is the sun? We all see it. If it is really a giant ball of explosive gas many millions of miles away, separated from us by a dark vacuum full of floating dust, why do the daisies turn their little heads toward it to greet its visage? Why do all these liberals have children when they know the so-called truth about the sun? I wouldn’t. I think that traduces.
We should have more articles from people like me. Next week, I will discuss gravity and wonder aloud if it is real, and if we run out of science facts we can start going through history. The Civil War seems made-up to me.
I hope to use this space to take on the hubris of so-called established science, the kind of thing these arrogant elites consider so basic and fundamental — the roundness of the Earth, the efficacy of vaccinations, evolution — that no one could hope to question it. But thanks to the tireless efforts of writers like myself there is less and less of that kind of thing around now.
Good. I am not certain of anything, other than the indisputable fact that intellectual certainty of any kind is bad.