Originally posted by BeyondDoubt
Originally posted by Astyanax
To people who practice science or are well acquainted with it, there is no awe-inspiring mystery about it.
I disagree that there is no such awe inspiring mystery to science. There is scientific phenomenon every where around us. I also find it hard pressed
that Tesla wasn't inspired by his own work.
I think you mean that the world
is full of awe-inspiring mystery and wonder. I agree, and science helps us appreciate this by helping us get
'under the skin' of nature. Science often explains a mystery by revealing a marvel.
But that is not the same as saying that science itself is mysterious. It is not. I can't stress this enough: science is nothing more than a
well-establihed method of learning about the world. It is a system of observation, theorizing and falsification: a set of well-understood systems and
procedures. At bottom it is nothing more than a formalized version of the things
anybody does when they want to find something out or understand it.
Science is a tool. It was invented by people and is used by people. There is, I repeat, nothing mysterious about it. It is what science studies that
is mysterious. The world - that's the mystery, not science.
Your mention of the name Tesla is disturbing. In my earlier post I said science could
become a kind of cargo-cult religion. In fact, I have
learned from my experience on ATS that there is already a small minority of people for whom it already is. Yes, there are alreay people who make a
cargo cult out of science. They are, of course, nonscientists, but they follow the achievements of science in the news and specialist media and
discuss them sometimes on forums like this. Their talk is full of misunderstanding, error, speculation and downright confabulation, but that doesn't
bother them. What gets them hot under the collar is people who debunk their pseudoscientific gee-whiz 'theories' with real science.
These scientific cargo cultists worship science. They make prophets out of scientists - and also out of charlatans and cranks, since they don't know
enough about science to tell the difference. Such people usually make a cult hero or demi-god out of Nikola Tesla.
Tesla was a genuine scientist and something of a visionary. He was also inarguably mad, and as the years went by his scientific genius was twisted and
destroyed by his madness. Scientific cargo cultists believe that Tesla's crazier ideas, the ones he came up with after his mind had gone, are
actually real and workable, even though Tesla himself could not, in spite of a few spectacular demonstrations, prove them or make them work. The
greatness they ascribe to Tesla is based on awe and inspiration, not on an appreciation of his scientific thinking, which they cannot follow and do
When a nonscientist speaks highly of Nikola Tesla, there is a high probability that the speaker is a science cargo cultist. I trust this does not hold
good in your own case.