Saturday, June 20, 2009

Science in a Land of the Lost

A lighter note: In the hilarious new movie LAND OF THE LOST, Will Ferrell plays scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, whose theories of time are ignored by the mainstream. In a TODAY show interview his work is called nonsense by Matt Lauer. At the movie's end, when Lauer has been proven wrong, the TODAY host attacks Marshall with fists! Playing himself, Matt Lauer accurately portrays the mainstream media.

One reviewer, not a scientist but possibly one who has heard that GM=tc^3, noted an interesting angle:

"My guess is that this aspect of the film was not intended as direct satire but instead simply reflects something the filmmakers picked up in the contemporary zeitgeist. However, its presence in the central story of the film and the bookend scenes--which are in very important places in the film, the beginning and end--gives it great prominence and suggests that skepticism toward such claims of consensus has entered the culture as a real phenomenon.

"The claim of consensus and refusal to address scientific evidence, of course, is the direct opposite of the scientific method, which is based on continual attempts to disprove accepted theories and hypotheses. The scientific method treats all claims as hypotheses, not facts, and requires humility on the part of the scientist.

"TODAY, by contrast, on subjects as varied as earth's temperature record, the process(es) of species origination, and EVEN WHETHER THE SPEED OF LIGHT IS CONSTANT, many people knowingly misuse science for political purposes, arguing that "the science is settled" on a variety of issues when it most certainly is not. (People have done this throughout history, of course.)



Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Okay, I'm going to watch it.

On a more serious note, could you give us an up to date list of articles that you've written, published or not? I just finished up a project with Marni and want to start doing gravitation / cosmology again.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Clearly somebody (a scriptwriter, perhaps) has been reading intelligent blogs, like this one. I must see this film!

9:59 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks, Carl and Kea. The list is getting longer, but I will try to post it this week. The movie is fun, but be ready for Will Ferrell's perverse humour.

3:30 AM  
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