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SAMMY SCIENCE ON THE SINGULARITY

Sammy Science back in the house, ready to talk science. I don’t know why I keep writing for this website, since so few of the people who write in believe in science. Either that, or they’re completely off the wall. Not that it matters much to scientists or to science itself who believes in it. What is, is, period amen. Facts don’t cooperate with delusions. That said, let’s see what’s in the inbox this week:

Dear Sammy Science: When’s that Singularity coming, Science Boy? You know, where we all get our brains hooked up to the internet, grow our own artificial replacement parts and live forever. I’m getting a little impatient here. – Levon Thyme

Dear Levon Thyme: I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you, sir. Those developments are only theories, the wishful thinking part of science. Theories don’t become hard science until they are proven. So far stem cell research isn’t close to providing you with viable replacement organs, never mind eternal life. The chips to be implanted in your body to allow you to interface with the internet are also pipe dreams, with the research, experimentation and creation of such chips in their infancies. If and when these things are ever proven to be viable, the technology will be prohibitively expensive.

Are you very wealthy? If not, you’ll be included out of that whole immortal¬† loop, and you’ll be looking up stuff on the internet like you do now, which is incredibly advanced compared to humanity of only two decades ago. You have the largest library ever assembled at the tops of your fingers! You want more? You want it fed to you like some intravenous data drip with no intellectual effort at all on your part? That would just be a waste of good data.

As far as living forever, what about injury, accidents, disease, murder and natural disasters? Death by starvation already claims 36 thousand people every single day on this planet. With nobody dying of old age, people will still be humping like bunnies, but only for a lot longer, and producing children well into what we consider “old” age. Can you imagine Food Wars, Energy Wars and Living Space Wars with a population of 20 or 30 billion people, with every square inch of space being occupied or farmed, and every natural resource taxed to their limits? Sounds like hell on earth.

The better deal for all of us is to take care of our health, learn all we possibly can and enjoy the years we’ve been given. The Singularity sounds good until you start examining the nuts and bolts of the whole thing. It’s impossible today and impractical tomorrow.

Dear Sammy Science: Since when do you science guys have all the answers? Some of us are getting a little sick and tired of your smug, know-it-all attitude! – Gene Poole

Dear Gene Poole: Science has all the answers? Hardly, sir, or what would be the point of pursuing science? Heck, we don’t even have all the questions! The pursuit of science is the admission that there are things you do not know but want to find out. Science is the act of truth seeking through careful observation, extensive study, sustained effort, experimentation and proof. The reason why Einstein was a genius is not because he formulated his incredibly complex Theory of Relativity, but because experimentation and observation proved it to be completely accurate. You can guess all you like about the nature of things, but until you are proven right, yours is just another theory, or an article of faith, never to be confused with facts.

Dear Sammy Science: So, you think science has it all over religion, eh? Can you prove that? – Reverend Winsome Loosum

Dear Reverend Winsome Loosum: I never said that. What I said was that they were two completely different pursuits, and not necessarily hostile towards one another. My specialty is astrophysics, and as an astrophysicist I spend a lot of time observing the known universe. The more astounding natural wonders I observe, the more I notice how very similar are the building blocks and the order of all life and creation in the universe, from the atomic level to molecular structure right up to solar systems and galaxies; a nucleus surrounded by orbiting bodies, with just the right amount of gravitational “pull” and “magnetic” push to keep these structures stable, whole and functioning.

To these scientifically trained eyes emerges an incredibly advanced intelligence at work; for lack of a scientific explanation, God. Of course I can’t prove this any more than you can prove the tenets of your faith, Reverend, but the feeling is a powerful one and the existence of God would explain the intricate and unchanging natural laws. Don’t think of science as your religion’s enemy, but an ally. We just go about our truth-seeking another way.

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