Tuesday, December 05, 2006

NASA will colonize Moon

NASA unveiled its plans today to colonize the South Pole of the Moon by 2020 by something that should eventually become a self-sustaining settlement of astronauts.
I agree with many commentators that these plans are not necessarily the most scientifically profound projects. Nevertheless, I tend to think that the mankind must eventually deal with the huge Universe. This feeling of mine may be an artifact of the romantic influence of science-fiction novels and movies. Nevertheless, the human ability to colonize the Universe should start to increase again, shouldn't it?

Stephen Hawking has recently reiterated his calls to occupy other solar systems in order to escape various lethal threats that are waiting here on Earth in the long term, such as bioterrorism. But even if you don't share his cataclysmic visions, shouldn't one of the goals of the civilization be to fight with the emptiness of the outer space?

Hawking vs. limited journalists

Incidentally, because I mentioned Stephen Hawking, you may look at the kind of battles that he is sometimes having with people whom he has identified as failed intellectuals. One of them just wrote in The Times that he is proud about the badge because he thinks that all intellectuals are failed ones. Well, in some other cases it depends on how you measure it. ;-)

You may read the throroughly incoherent pile of nonsense by Mr. Bryan Appleyard to see why Hawking's label for such people certainly doesn't belong to one of the few mistakes that Hawking has made in his life. Quite on the contrary: Hawking is right on the money.

Mr. Appleyard apparently thinks that he has found an argument showing that physics is just like religion or philosophy and that the theory of everything or the universal laws of physics can't exist: and the question whether M-theory is correct is, according to Mr. Appleyard, "meaningless". Absurd conclusions, indeed.

This journalist also believes that science must be a narrow, humble, small, non-adventurous, and unexciting - which is why he also criticizes Richard Dawkins and Steven Weinberg. On his easy-to-find blog, you may also learn that no one in the world knows what the LHC is good for. Well, in both characterizations of this paragraph, the journalist has probably confused science and the LHC on one side and himself on the other side. It's not the same thing.

Among the biologists, it's not just Richard Dawkins: most of important biologists I know of are listed as members of Al-Science, analogous to Al-Qaeda, in a 2003 article by this journalist that complained about the "science mafia". The journalist heroically wanted all these scientists to admit that science was impotent in all big questions, and because he failed, he at least wrote that rant in The Sunday Times because this is what a failed intellectual can always do. When you read it, you may become nostalgic about these old good times when aggressive crackpots were still treated just as aggressive crackpots.

But let me return to his newest "work": Couldn't please someone try to kindly explain these journalists that they're lacking at least 30 IQ points and 10 years of education to be able to judge whether Stephen Hawking should receive a science medal for his cosmological theories or not?

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