Sammy Science back in the house. I’ve decided to avoid engaging in debates with those who dispute proven scientific facts. Once something is proven beyond doubt, what else I can say? If people don’t want to believe in proven facts there’s not much to be done. Insisting you are right won’t help with people who are uncomfortable with truth. Ask Galileo how beating his head against that wall worked out for him. Almost cost him his life and the rest us his crucial life’s work. As just one scientist among millions across the globe, let me just say to some of my religious antagonists that my team has proven a whole lot more of our claims that their team has. If these debates were a basketball game, the score would be more one-sided than a Harlem Globetrotters rout of the Washington Generals, something like a 5,000 – 0 shutout. Let’s see what’s in the inbox:
Dear Sammy Science: It gets me steamed when a construction project is held up because it “might” be hazardous to some endangered species. This time around it’s a wildflower that’s holding up an important development that will provide vital jobs and services. Don’t we have enough damned flowers? – Rocky Mountain Joe
Dear Rocky Mountain Joe: With a name like that you ought to be more aware of the interdependence of flora and fauna. Who knows what this flower provides the ecosystem? What if it is the plant where Fig Wasps nest and lay their eggs? No big deal, you’re thinking, there’s plenty of other wasps around, and you would be right. But if you like figs that might be a problem, since the Fig Wasp is the only pollinator of fig trees. No flowers for Fig Wasp larvae, no more Fig Wasps, no more Fig Wasps, no more figs. Ever. Who’s going to pollinate the millions of fig trees, you? There are other wildflowers that have provided us lifesaving medicines. I’m not saying that the particular flower you refer to is that important. Perhaps it is only beautiful. Isn’t that quite enough in itself? We already have plenty of box stores and luxury condos, not one of them as beautiful as a flower.
Dear Sammy Science: What’s up with this whole Green Movement thing? Aren’t these people politically motivated? I think they are for the most part crazy liberals who go too far. – Boris DeSpida
Dear Boris DeSpida: Perhaps some of the more extreme Green Movement people are politically motivated demagogues, but that’s what you get when for the whole of the Industrial Revolution we have been shitting where we eat. Had we followed from the beginning the simple laws laid down by our mothers about cleaning up after ourselves, we wouldn’t have to put up with a lot of the fools who advocate that mankind revert to living as we did before we invented electricity, internal combustion and little amenities like modern medicine. That’s not going to happen nor should it. Life spans back in those days were roughly half of ours. The idea of progress is to progress, not go backwards. Being clean is merely common sense. How many ruined pastures and waterways and deaths from pollution do we need before that sinks in? Mankind is a long way from inhabiting another planet so it’s a good idea to make sure that living on this one isn’t like living in a subway men’s room. To my mind, being Green is being clean, and both liberals and conservatives should be able to agree on that. Who wants to be identified with filth and poison?
Dear Sammy Science: I say there is no such thing as ESP. What do you think? – Doubting Thomas
Dear Doubting Thomas: I knew you were going to ask that! Just kidding. The truth is that ESP, or extra-sensory perception, is a real form of communication, just one we do not understand. Ants, for example, have no vocal cords or ears, yet they communicate quite effectively over some distance. While some humans have been proven to have an ability to sense things or to communicate in non-traditional ways, there is of yet no solid method of measuring or even identifying the source of these extrasensory receptors and transmitters. To deny something exists because you yourself do not experience it is ridiculous. As a male, you cannot menstruate or give birth. Do you deny that these physiological functions are part of the human experience? The Flat Earth Society went out of business a long time ago, Thomas. Keep your eyes and your mind wide open.
Dear Sammy Science: Does science recognize that man has a soul? This is not a religious question, and you can call our souls whatever you like; spirits, life essence, whatever. It just seems to me that the life force that distinguishes a living creature from a dead one is quite palpable and of interest to a scientist. – Lance Boyle
Dear Lance Boyle: Man’s soul, or spirit, or life essence, seems to at least this scientist to be a separate and identifiable part of a human being, as much as toes, fingers, eyes or kidneys. Unfortunately, just as with ESP, there is currently no sure scientific method of identifying our souls. Barring a clear and concise way of identifying its components, some scientists deny the existence of the human soul. Others study what we came to call our souls, and I for one welcome their efforts since it seems obvious that people do have an element within us that makes us human, and often more than human. No other species practices kindness towards others, or cruelty either for that matter. No other creature writes poetry. No other creature seems capable of the intuitive leaps of intellect that have provided mankind with technology far beyond beaver dams, gopher holes, ant hills and birds’ nests.
Human beings are creatures with a wider range of personalities within a species that any other life form we have studied. Frogs, for example, never exhibit any behavior that is un-froglike, and there are no frog priests, frog scientists or frog entertainers. Other creatures do, however, possess what we can call a life essence, a soul if you will, since we can tell a dead one from a living one. Whether or not our souls rot along with our bodies when we die is a powerful question, and I think one worthy of scientific research. Every new generation of scientists proves somebody wrong and confirms others’ suspicions, and perhaps someday science will discover and map the soul like we have our organs and our DNA. Good question, Lance, and good questions are the basis of all science. We wonder, and so we investigate.