The Consequences of Popularizing Science

I fail to see the fascination over the likes of Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”, David Keith and others of that ilk.

Thinking back, years ago, when I was attending college, I had a professor who, himself, believed that “popular science” was the result of the decentralization of higher education. Perhaps, he was right. In the past, the academic community was somewhat isolated and centered around the relatively few large universities. In this setting, the people who studied science could gather for fireside chats over brandy and cigars to discuss fanciful theories and ideas. However, as academia diversified, these once private discussions took the form of books as a mode of communication among scholars. It turned into a place for one to explore and discuss new ideas outside of the rigors of the university life. Also, in the case of Michio Kaku, it provided a source of additional income.

That’s why he writes books.

Some would say that Kaku is both a futurist and a theoretical physicist. I say, that Kaku is more of a futurist than he is a theoretical physicist. He inspires young people to have an interest in physics and scientific development–only, the physics and scientific development is tantamount [in my opinion] to make-belief. For instance, no matter how educated we claim to be, we have no way of knowing with certainty what tomorrow will bring. But when Kaku says that we will have smart toilets and clothing that will alert 911, etc., one has to wonder exactly what’s the true definition behind popularizing science.

Theoretical physicists somehow seem to think that they are supposed to be very vague with their or others’ theories.

Maybe some historian or “philosopher of science” could try to do some research about how we came to a point that we found ourselves enraptured in this current popular science phase/situation. Let me tell you, this is a very strange popular science phase/situation. Yet, one must take notice that the mission of a popular physicist or popular scientist is to inspire an audience about physics. It’s quite often that Michio Kaku is referred as the successor to Carl Sagan. Now, admittedly, I’m a Carl Sagan hater and have been a Carl Sagan hater since the ’90s. To me, he’s immortalized in blatant stupidity. I mean, I’m talking about Carl Sagan–a man who literally stood on top of President Carter’s desk in the Oval Office and screamed that we were going into an Ice Age and that glaciers would be rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue by the year 2000.

Here’s something you all should keep at heart: scientific research does not always benefit from constant communication. When you keep making promises to people eventually you’ll have to provide at some point, otherwise, people will not trust your words and you’ll lose funding. Scientists have been claiming for decades to the general public that they will come up with a “theory for everything” or the “equation of God” or “the ultimate truth” only to bring about more harm to the scientific community for the long term. This is why I see Michio Kaku as the “Eric von Daniken of physics”. He “knows” and states as “fact” things such as time travel and black holes as if they were just around the corner of our development. He centers himself around topics that are of the pop culture that [young] people go, “Yeah, I’ve thought about that and I believe that may be possible.” Kaku presents himself in a way that has made him acceptable because he’s seen as entertaining to the general public in regards to certain principles of physics and possibilities so far on the edge of hypothesis (not realistic theory/theories) whose talks and YouTube presentations are meant for the value of entertainment.

I can say the same for Bill Nye–in addition to his blatant idiocy that he masquerades around as “science”. I’m no fan of Bill Nye and as a kid that grew up during the ’90s, I was more attuned to watching “Ghostwriter” as far as shows geared towards children on public broadcast television went. He’s a proponent for “global warming”–oh, I’m sorry–it’s called climate change now. Excuse me. A while back, someone had asked Mr. Nye on how he goes about testing to see if the Earth was warming and Mr. Nye replied:

“It’s called a thermometer and you place them in different spots around the earth and watch them over a period of time then take that data and analyze it. It’s called science.” ©–Bill Nye

I, Desmond Johnel Watson, do not believe in “global warming”, climate change or whatever choice flavor-of-the-month phraseology gets its turn to being attributed towards nonsense. I’m quite shocked that a “scientist” like Bill Nye doesn’t know that a thermometer cannot determine sea water’s albedo, which is a measure of reflectivity and the fact that as the Earth rocks back-and-forth on its cyclical axial tilt from 21° to 24°32′ the amount of ocean surface areas that absorb UV (ultraviolet) particles increases (or, decrease as the case may be), causing the oceans to warm, causing the currents to warm, causing the ice in the north polar region to melt. The Earth is approaching its most vertical point, in terms of axial tilt, more square miles of ocean absorb more UV particles. Whether or not our Earth is warming is irrelevant and it’s really no one’s business since no one can control it–and humans have no impact. Accordingly, I’d expect it to warm up since the Earth is closer to the Sun now than ever before in recorded history.

Is the ever so hallowed “scientist” Bill Nye aware that the geographic location of the magnetic north changes over time?

The Earth’s Magnetic Field

Is Bill Nye aware that the Earth is struck nearly every second with non-ionizing ultraviolet radiation and by ionizing gammas, X-rays, protons and neutrons?

Is Bill Nye aware that when these particles enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere they ionize the gases in your atmosphere and they do this by knocking orbiting electrons loose from diatomic oxygen, diatomic nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other gases plus water molecules?

Is Bill Nye aware that this ionization is what creates the ionosphere?

Is Bill Nye aware that this ionization is known to interfere with the electromagnetic radiation in certain bands, specifically short wave bands and the AM radio band? Also, it degrades FM radio performance, UHF/VHF and long wave radio bands?

Those particles that enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere, those particles that still have sufficient energy–and have not been scattered or reflected back into space–will then continue until they interact with Earth’s ozone layer and afterwards, interact with the Earth itself. Can Bill Nye explain how placing thermometers in different spots all over the Earth detect this interaction between high-energy particles and the Earth? No, he can’t because he doesn’t understand how Earth works. This interaction is what heats the Earth–the energy from those particles.

The remainder of those particles, the ones that ionize (gammas, X-rays, protons and neutrons) comprise the solar component of the natural-background radiation that exists on Earth as the particles from the decay of radio-isotopes that remain within the Earth’s crust.

So, Bill Nye has a problem with Creationism. So do I. However, my stance isn’t blinded by deep-seated hatred for Creationism. Rather instead, I choose to leave those people alone, whether they’re Christian or whatever religious belief one chooses to label themselves with, that’s up to them. But if a person selects evolution as their card of choice, then that person needs to be direct with content and not indirect with an emotional appeal guised as a way of getting attention. For someone such as Nye to be so staunchly against Creationism, you’d think he would, at least, state some facts to compel whatever audience he’s trying to reach instead of driving a few away. I say a “few” because the majority of Nye’s admirers will choose to stay loyal members of his audience. To his audience, that is largely comprised of those whom are subscribed to academia, I would suggest that they take math courses while they’re attending universities so that they’ll have a firm understanding of constants–especially if they intend to push evolution into the minds of the highly-impressionable, younger generations.

Constants exist for several reasons. Some of them are unchanging like the “speed of light” [through a vacuum] (the “speed of light” is considered unchanging but for the benefit of those reading this blog, I’ll say that it is (unchanging)). Variations in the “speed of light” [through a vacuum] are so minute they’ll have no affect on any of the calculations.

Other constants describe relationships. For instance, in the RADAR equation, engineers and scientists use what’s known as Boltzmann’s Constant:

1.3806503 * 10^{-23} m^2 kg s^{-2} K^{-1}

There is a constant relationship between the energy of a particle and the temperature of a particle. That relationship never changes. As temperature approaches absolute zero the particle has no energy. This is why everything comes to an absolute standstill at absolute zero.

Also, you have to account for constants that are fudge factors. The gravitational constant, for instance, is a fudge factor. There is no possible way we can know the mass of the solar system or every celestial body in the solar system any more than we can know the total mass of Earth. The fudge factor (for the gravitational constant) accounts for all of the mass/masses that we are not aware of that exist. An issue related to this are celestial bodies that are not within the confines of the traditional boundary of our solar system. For example, it has been said than none of the sensors on certain satellites detect a change in gravitational forces evidencing the existence of some so-called “Planet X” outside of the solar system proper.

For the sake of arguing, it’s probably because the gravitational force exerted by so-called “Planet X” has already been accounted for in the gravitational constant. We’re talking within ~5.9 billion kilometers of Pluto in order to exert a force greater than the gravitational constant.

Bear in mind, that a constant does not negate the occurrence of randomness. In the classic equation, E = m c ^2, you can see that while c is a constant that represents the “speed of light”, m is a variable that represents mass. With that said, the occurrence of randomness should be of no surprise to anyone. The very fact that all equations have variables generally guarantees randomness.

In respect to evolution, in any event, the existence or the absence of constants has no bearing on evolution, which is by nature, chaotically random since natural-background radiation was (I say “was” because, at this stage of the game, is more accurate than saying “is“) the driving force behind mutations–while natural selection is the driving force behind biological evolution.

There are some people who do not understand that combustion is rapid oxidation. There are some people who do not understand that the presence of oxygen in the upper atmosphere is miniscule. There are some people who do not understand that the reason why aircraft cannot fly above certain altitudes is due to the fact that there is insufficient quantities of oxygen to combust the jet propulsion fuel. There are some people who do not understand that liquid fueled rockets provide their own oxidizer precisely because there is virtually no oxygen at higher altitudes. There are some people who do not understand that mixing nitric acid with unsymmetrical dimethlyhydrazine results in the liberation of oxygen from unsymmetrical dimethlyhydrazine. There are some people who do not understand that solid fuel rockets operate on the same principle as far as the liberation of oxygen from a solid fuel propellant containing heavy concentrations of oxygen molecules–in one form or another.

That describes “climate scientist”, David Keith.

“Geoengineering” is comical, at best. It really heightens my risibility. “Geoengineering” methods such as “…spraying millions of tonnes of reflective particles of sulfur dioxide thirty miles above Earth” is impossible. What part of “impossible” does Keith–and those that have been whipsawed into believing in “geoengineering”–not understand? There are no aircraft on Earth that’s capable of reaching thirty miles in altitude. Keith does know that there are 5,280 feet in a mile, right?

5,280 * 30 = 158,400 feet

There are no commercial aircraft capable of reaching eleven miles in altitude.

5,280 * 11 = 58,080 feet

The only aircraft capable of cruising at that altitude [eleven miles above Earth] are military aircraft [combat aircraft at that]. The ceiling for a C-130 is 28,000 feet. Why, you ask? It’s a turbopop, there isn’t enough oxygen at higher altitudes for combustion.

Has it ever occurred to the “climate change” guild that temperature and pressure change over altitude?

Atmosphere Air Properties

There’s a relationship between volume, temperature and pressure. Some call that Boyle’s Law. People need to understand that whatever the air temperature is on the ground it isn’t the same as the air temperature 2,500 feet above you. Air gets cooler as you gain altitude.

Referring back to the article I had linked to earlier:

Solar-radiation management (SRM) would involve releasing megatonnes of light-scattering aerosol particles in the upper atmosphere to reduce Earth’s absorption of solar energy, thereby cooling the planet. Another technique would be to release particles of sea salt to make low-altitude clouds reflect more solar energy back into space.

I have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is presently impossible to release “megatonnes of light-scattering aerosol particles” in the upper atmosphere. There are no aircraft on Earth capable of operating above the Troposphere [eleven miles in altitude]. The idea of releasing “particles of sea salt to make low-altitude clouds reflect more solar energy” is indeed preposterous, though that does not involve the use of aircraft. Rather, the mechanisms to put sea-salt spray in the atmosphere are all land-based/sea-based and do not rely on aircraft.

Talking about “geoengineering” and actually engaging in “geoengineering” is not the same thing. There might be research into “geoengineering” but that is not proof that “geoengineering” is actually taking place. It can be pointed out that back in the early 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission, with the approval of Congress, studied the feasibility of enhanced radiation weapons, or nuclear weapons with output tailored to neutrons, gammas or X-rays.  Though they studied and researched such weapons, no design ever came about and they didn’t build or test such weapons because it was all done using computer modeling. Gamma and X-ray enhanced radiation weapons were deemed of no value but the value of the neutron weapon was great, so, Congress approved funding to develop and design such a warhead. I point this out because some people have a difficult time distinguishing between proposal being made, research being conducted and actual implementation.

As far as human evolution goes, you see it today–everyday around you. Take some time aside and venture to your favorite place of recreation–the mall, the local movie theater, your favorite restaurant, the library up the street–wherever–you’ll see the decline in human evolution, starting with behavioral interaction amongst people. It’s a sad evolution, man. There must some sort of glorification of ignorance going on–and I’m not talking about people that are good in math and science. No. I’m referring to people that claim to be good in math and science. Let me take the media to the guillotine for a minute here. The History Channel, as an example of degradation, has gone from bring interesting documentaries to now settling for bad humor from Giorgio Tsoukalos. We are at a point in time that nonsense has to be brought to the face of human interest in order to compel people (especially the highly-impressionable youth) to harness a desire in math and science–through the promotion of pseudoscience such as “global warming”, “geoengineering”, etc.

We live in a world where science is definitely important for every major technology that we have. But we also live in a culture that despises science and intelligence. For example, if I, Desmond Johnel Watson, can be classified as a “nerd”, then I’m a “nerd” in the classical sense, meaning before the current social focus on one’s appearance such as being bespectacled (wearing glasses). Other than being worn for the bettering of one’s vision, they also symbolized a person’s non-confrontational “vibe”. Nowadays, it’s just a part of being fashionable. The [former] immediate interpretation of seeing someone wearing glasses used to give off the impression that he or she could be “smart”. However, the evolution of that impression, at some point in the 21st century being, specifically in academia/science, became a cultural joke. At least, that’s how it’s seemingly viewed here in the western world. This, in turn, has formed a new perception of the “nerd” when people, in general, begin to erroneously associate unpopular activities/traits with people who are interested in the sciences and maliciously deem certain unfavorable characteristics (e.g., bad hygiene, social awkwardness, cultural unawareness, etc.) in efforts to identity [and ostracize] the classical nerd and keep him or her separate from the newly acceptable “nerd”. You see, this perception has been manifested throughout society, in both fictional presentation and everyday activities. I’ll even allude to things that go against the grain such as the TV show, “The Big Bang Theory” that tries to portray the “nerd” in a positive light yet it’s drenched in cliché and plays on cultural perceptions.

This is one of many problems I have with the needless efforts of people–within the scientific community–popularizing science. Science doesn’t need to be popularized. Instead, science education needs to change. And, just as importantly, science lessons in school need to teach how to recognize and debunk pseudoscience as well as cover the difference between pseudoscience and real science. A lack of understanding real science and being able to differentiate between real science and pseudoscience is the reason why it’s so easy these days for pseudoscience to integrate in everyday life–largely compounded by the infiltration of deliberate misinformation on part of news and advertising. Science journalism isn’t just bad, it’s outrageously misinforming. For example, if an article that eating organic produce increases the potential of causing cancer and then a few years later another article reports that eating organic produce has the potential of gradually reducing the risk of heart disease, a layperson will be left with the idea that scientists are heuristically flimsy, leaving their supposed “experience” in question. Advertisement is just as guilty as science journalism. Mundanely, people are bombarded by adverts in all forms of media trying to sell products with science that’s, at best, dodgy. The result from this is undesirable as it will always lead to people developing an automatic distrust because they are unaware of how real science works.

Another reason why pseudoscience is at the forefront of public communication is because it’s perceived as being more “fun”, “easier to understand” or “far more interesting”. The entertainment value is the lifeblood of pseudoscience. Remove that and real science might have a fighting chance. I say that because communicating to the public requires a completely different track than the communication that’s done in [real] science. See, people will clamor to be in the audience but it won’t be for how the lesson was delivered. Instead, they’ll flock to the seminar for WHAT was delivered. Case in point, if the topic is about aliens, they’ll show up. But if the topic is a discussion focusing on supernova Ia evolution, you’ll probably end up with a smaller-than-expected audience.