Phil Plait is an astronomer, educator, pillar of the skeptic community, and blogger. He has some very good points to make on how to best tackle the problem of the spreading wave of pseudo science.
Please enjoy the video:
Cryptozoology to me is one of the more fun, less controversial and less damaging areas of fringe science or pseudoscience (depending on your stance). After all: Cryptozoologist do not offer more or less useless advice on your life (like the people gazing into crystal balls do), peddle magic water (homeopaths) or drag you into weird conspiracies. OK, some cryptozoologists are also a little on the conspiracy side but that is another story.
Cryptozoology has a lot to offer to Steampunks, I believe. Think about it: In a way, many explorers of the great explorers of the past centuries were to a certain degree cryptozoologists. The Okapi and the Mountain Gorilla were for a long time dismissed as fanciful tales by primitive natives until some civilized European shot one and brought the carcass home… Well, isn’t civilization just great?
Of course I do not endorse wasting your time in fruitless pursuit of the Loch Ness Monster, the Ogopogo or the Sasquatch. If they do exist, you better leave them in peace. The Dodo and others could tell quite a tale about the benefits of discovery if they had not been extinct.
Besides, I consider the chance Nessie or Ogopogo actually existing to be zero and Sasquatch is only slightly more likely. I would love Sasquatch to be out there, don’t get me wrong, it is just the fact that after so many years of people looking for it, not a single piece of tissue, no fur or other physical evidence has been found.
Still, the cryptid of your area is one fun reason for a Steampunk day out. Get a few friends together, gear up and explore the woods, caves lakes or whatever geographical feature there is in style. But please: Be careful! Caves can be dangerous and nature has no concept of “leisure time”. The avalanche will come down no matter if it is your day off or not. Just saying.
And: Bring a modern camera along! Would this not be one great scenario:
A handful of Steampunks in full outdoor gear (pith helmets, parasols, belts with lots of satchels etc.) sneaking through the woods and all of a sudden encountering a band of Sasquatch. Be prepared, you never know, it could just happen.
And if you do not actually encounter a cryptid on your day out, you at least had a fun day out, good company and a nice pick-nick. No matter what happens: You win.
I would love to tell you more but Mr. Books has just very politely pointed out this might actually not be in my best interest.
Ah well, I still have not finished reading De Vermis Mysteriis, I better do that now.
It is a sad state of affairs that science has almost been driven off the popular consciousness. Intead, what you find is pseudoscience being distributed on TV through what is called „Infotainment“. The more outrageous the stories, the better. At the same time woo-woo quackery like magic sugar and magic water (a.k.a homeopathy), naturopathy and similar nonsense is on the rise.
This development is a disgrace. It tarnishes all of humanities achievements ever since the scientific revolution started in 1543.
It was sparked by the publication of two visionary and highly influential works that same year:
De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (On the fabric of the human body in seven books) and the much better known De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres).
No, I am not providing links this time, in the spirit of this article: Do your own research. It is great fun to discover something new.
But coming back to all this pseudoscience Air Kraken discharge:
It is about as useful as and also about as sensical as the following statement and causes about as much pain:
Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.
Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
What is needed here is a new approach for getting people interested in science again. Many people are scared of science, thinking it is too complicated. Others think it is just dry stuff with no application in real life. This is not really true. I think people just get this impression because they had bad science classes in school.
You know the kind, boring lesson, incompetent teacher who does not care and sometimes it is your own attitude:
You sit there in class, thinking „I’m never gonna need this…“ and then you get bad grades and you don’t care and only the unpopular geeks and nerds excell in science.
It wasn’t always like this.
Back in the day, like the Victorian Age, science was electrifying. Scientist were respected, even held in awe. Everybody was interested in one ways or another. It was the Age of Discovery. Actually, today is the Age of Discovery, but most peolpe do not realize this. Science is growing in leaps and bounds. More discoveries have been made in this generation than in the entire history of the human race before!
Now, let’s take the enthusiasm of the Victorian Age, the less geeky approach to science and help others discover the Joy of Discovery. Carl Sagan was a genius when it came to that and like so many others, he left us far too early.
Check out his work on Youtube and other places on the ætherweb and tell others about it. Science is great. The piece of technology you are using to access this blog is applied science! The hot water in your shower in the morning is a result of applied science (metallurgy, physics, engineering to name a few). Science is part of everyday life. Realize it, be happy about it share the happieness!
And I leave you with one of the best and most entertaining videos on one particular subject I have ever seen:
Science took us to the moon and raised our life expectancy from 35 to 75! Pseudoscience and superstition gave us witch trials, blood-letting and, well, homeopathy.
Let’s make science fun again! Science is for everybody, not just for nerds and geeks.
Oh, and for a laugh on Friday, here is a brilliant piece by Dara O’Briain on quackery and science:
I just wanted to give a shoutout for skeptic, educator and all-over great guy Brian Dunning. I have mentioned him here before, he is the host of Skeptoid (click!), one of the finest science podcasts around.
In May, Brian gave a presentation of his famed Sounds from Beyond at Google recently and this is they video:
So, if you have not heard of Skeptoid before, there is no excuse now. Please subscribe and also consider donating to Brian’s cause.
He has proven his dedication and the quality of his podcast in 262 episodes thus far and I hope there will be many more!
This just proves once more, that the heads of the Evangelical Movement are phony, selfish scumbags. I am not attacking any faithful Christians out there, just the loudmouths who claim to do good but are ever only good to themselves and everybody else pays: