Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fuckin Science. How Does That Work?

You've probably seen this:



The take-home message seems to be that people should just enjoy "miracles" like trees, dirt, and cell-phone-eating pelicans (?) without questioning them. These lines in particular reveal where ICP is coming from:
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don't wanna talk to a scientist
Y'all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed
Oookay.

First of all, anyone with access to Google, or a library, or an encyclopedia, can pretty easily find the answer to "how do they work?" Scientists figured that out a long time ago. Are they lying? Well, no, because we've used the fruits of this science of magnets to create a lot of cool stuff that actually works, like speakers1. The same speakers that pump out the "pure motherfucking magic" of music.


Yeah, it's amazing that invisible magnetic fields create invisible waves in the air that can hit the eardrums of 15000 people, sending electrical signals up neurons into their brains and evoking emotional reactions. Even if that emotion is a dull anger at the world set against the constant mild confusion that characterizes the average Insane Clown Posse fan (oops, sorry, Juggalo).

So yeah, music is mindblowing, even eyelid-shocking. But it's not an unexplainable miracle. It's the result of the hard work of people who came before us. I find more beauty in recognizing human achievement than in attributing it to magic that happened in spite of lying scientists.


I mentioned chiropractic on Twitter yesterday, and how it, too, relies on magic more than science (though it's certainly not the worst alternative medicine out there). Some people questioned this approach, as well as science-based medicine in general.

Listen: science isn't a bunch of people in lab coats telling you what they think is right and what they think is wrong. Science is just figuring out how stuff works in the best way possible. That's it. It's full of human bias and contradictions and gaping holes. But so is everything else. All other things being equal—or rather, given that all other things are equal—science is the best way of gaining knowledge about anything.

I appreciate the idea of miracles. Like, there are times when I just lie in bed, looking at my hand, and I'm like "whooooaa look at my hand, man. LOOK AT MY HAND." Usually when I'm not even high. But instead of giving up at the point of calling it a miracle, I can go beyond that, to the science behind it; why did my ancestors have hands like mine? What evolutionary purpose do fingernails serve?

Like seriously, are they just there to pick at shit in my teeth? Since cavemen didn't have nail clippers, were they all nail-biters?

At least I can take comfort in the fact that ICP's video has gone viral, and everyone realizes how ridiculous it is. Ridiculous enough that it's not worth writing an entire blog post about? What? Where am I?


1 This was also pointed out on the latest episode of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. See also: Rebecca Watson's hilarious speculation on where the song came from.

5 comments:

Dead Robot said...

When I see these jerks yammering on I start to fantasize that I'd like to make Atlas Shrugged to come to life: round up all the scientists and curiosity seeking creative types and haul them AWAY FROM THE STUPID PEOPLE!!

Dear Scientist: Please don't look at the stupid areas of the intranet. If you have, we're sorry.

Kris said...

Fuckin' ICP.

I don't even know where to start.

katrocket said...

I never thought I'd live in a world where the Insane Clown Posse could spark a debate about science.

Steven said...

I see your point. This video represents what is wrong with people. However, I don't know if the ICP bashing is justified. I love these guys. No artists have caused me so much laughter. And, yes, I know Violent J has a 9th grade education... but, how much of the song is an act?

shine said...

Just to play devil's advocate here (as a scientist)...

Scientists could still be lying about HOW magnets work. You can still use them because they DO work.

Lying scientist bastards.