22 July 2009

Science is my sword

Previously, I argued that science was never meant to be the reserve of the super intelligent. How did it become viewed as something that was elitist instead of democratic?

Science is like a sword: effective in the hands of the most rank and unskilled amateur, devastating when wielded by a skilled master.

It’s pointless to ask if successful researchers owe more to scientific methods or their intelligence, since those with both will outdo those who have only one.

Science has become practiced by a few by virtue of its own success. As the questions to be tested have become ever more subtle, it has taken more and more time just to establish the working knowledge necessary not to duplicate previous work. Also, the types of equipment needed to answer many of these very subtle questions are often beyond the realm of what most people are able to get their hands on.

Even MythBusters, one of the best examples of DIY science there is right now, often has resources beyond what the average person can cough up. Sure, building a giant ball of Lego is easy in principle... until you realize how many pieces are needed. Just because you know what experiment to do doesn’t mean you can pull it off.

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