Monday, April 07, 2008

Science sucks

The February issue of Wired magazine has a feature called "Things That Suck." Thirty-two things. The usual suspects, of course. Car alarms. Spam. Air travel. Printer ink cartridges. Dead batteries. Hangovers.

But what's this on the list? Science! Science sucks? Oh, come on.

Here's what Wired has to say, tongue partly in cheek: "The real reason science sucks is that it makes us look bad. It makes us bit players in the Big Story of the universe...Look at it this way: Before science, we humans had dominion over Earth, the center of the universe. Now we are just a bunch of hairless apes on a wet rock orbiting a minor star in a marginal galaxy."

Depressing. Downright threatening. Demoted from lords of the universe to motes of dust in a big silent space that for all we know is infinite. No wonder half of Americans reject science. Oh, they like the benefits of science, all right. Modern medicine. Plentiful food. The wireless internet. But they aren't all that happy with the bottom line: The universe doesn't give a fig.

Yep, science sucks. All the things that should exhilarate us -- the myriad galaxies, the dazzling dance of the DNA, the creation of elements at the cores of stars, the grand saga of evolution -- make us uneasy. Worse than uneasy. Scared shitless.

But not to worry. The old anthropocentric story is still there for the taking. And most people on the planet take it. The creator of the universe has me -- yes, me -- as the apple of his eye.