Unsurprisingly, my award-nominated (I personally nominate all my work for awards, to compensate for the fact that, incomprehensibly, I am so often overlooked by committees) vid lampooning the anti-science lifestyle choice, has generated some jaundice.
It occurs to some of us here at Spinster HQ that the only way to avoid hurting anybody’s feelings ever is to shut down the entire obstreperal lobe and become a pillow.
Not that empillowment is without its own controversies, because what do you stuff the pillow with? Not feathers, surely, or wool, or silk, but aren’t synthetics their own special sort of politically incorrect scourge? Which leaves grass clippings, but what with all the katydid poop and raccoon dander lying around, questions of hygiene are raised.
Anyway, you’re all good sports, especially those of you who joked that I drive away my loyal “followers” with elitism. Unless — hey, wait, what? Were you serious? Because that hurts my feelings.
Mang, this science vs intuition “debate” has gotten completely ridic. Awesome! I will speak of nothing else for the foreseeable future!
I think we can all agree that when you define science as a method for acquiring knowledge, and intuition as the spark of intelligence that ignites inquiry (although maybe a better word would be genius), we’re all pretty much on the same page.
Is there a magical form of feminine insta-knowledge what spontaneously erupts on unicorn rays in the unseen 5th dimension of the human metaspirit? Why not? Just show me the data and we’ll be cool.
See? We’re getting along great now.
But oy, elitism. It’s always the way when knowledge becomes specialized. Subcultures bubble out of the general magma, standards and practices become codified, skills get required, expertise becomes venerated, a canon is established, as well as a hierarchy, practitioners become eccentric egomaniacs, gatekeepers show up to protect them from the rabble, and the subculture becomes more and more detached from the teeming throng from which it spranged even as its influence spreads like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on a frozen toaster waffle. And then someone from the throng says, “Hey, bite me you elitist asswipes, we don’t need you, we’re going back to the way we were before your delusions turned you into a megalomaniac, because those were the good old days.” And then some spinster aunt says, “Hey, yerself! As the world’s leading expert on expertise, I think you’re throwing the baby out with the other babies!”
What am I saying? Just this:
You don’t have to be Martina Navratilova to play a game of tennis.
And I should know, because I’m not Martina Navratilova.
There are other things you don’t have to be in order to do things. You don’t have to be a professional 70’s pop star-cum-tragic figure to crank up “Close To You” and go “wah-ah-ah-ah-ah, close to yew!” after the tacet interlude. You don’t have to have ironed Jean-Paul Sartre’s shirts to nod in vigorous agreement when you read in The Second Sex that all oppression creates a state of war. You don’t have to be the Weatherman to blow up the Pentagon. And you don’t have to be a tenured science knob to appreciate the process of scientific inquiry.
As VinaigretteGirl points out, you can (and should) do experiments in your closet for fun. I’m doing one right now where I’m testing the structural integrity of a typical household wicker laundry basket, primarily by never unloading it into the washing machine. What a gas! More complicated endeavors, like collecting soil samples from Pluto’s surface to analyze for Crystalline Entity droppings, can be admired from afar as a spectator sport.
The purpose of scientifical pursuit, in the pure form most admired by middle-aged spinster aunts, has less to do with being published in Nature, or using jargon on dude science blogs to shut up the people who didn’t go to college, or advancing the megatheocorporatocratic agenda, than it does with simply enbiggening human enlightenment. The enbiggenment of human enlightenment is always conducted on the individual level. Whenever a glob of comprehension supplants a glob of incomprehension in a human brain, the Dark Side (or the Tyranny of Ignorance, if you like, or the Black Thing) gets bent. Whenever that happens, the whole species is collectively that much better off. Consult any 6-year-old for further information; globs of knowledge supplant globs of ignorance in their brains on an hourly basis, and they really seem to dig it.
Anyway, am I saying “Yay Big Pharma! Keep inventing cancer drugs and charging $40,000 a year for’em!”? No. Am I saying, “Yay, the Women’s Oppression League has just endowed a foundation for the advancement of evolutionary psychology!”? No. Am I saying “When a thing does a thing and you don’t know why, would it kill you to find out?” Yes. And it doesn’t even matter if somebody has already answered the question you’re asking. Check out this inspirational personal anecdote:
The other day I realized that I’m 50 years old already and I still don’t know how katydids make that deafening racket like unto 876,932 small pulsating dentist drills that keeps me awake all night. So I hoisted my ass up out of the lime green recliner and nabbed a specimen for the lab.
It wasn’t hard. All I had to do was stick my hand out the window, since there is no square inch of El Rancho Deluxe that is not populated by a katydid. Every tree, shrub, cactus, rock, tractor, and blade of grass is literally crawling with katydids. The bunkhouse itself appears to have been dipped in a vat of katydids. A lady from another planet, upon observing the tableau, would conclude that a large, fleshy pink entity is being held captive in a limestone nest by a race of screaming green rattly leaves.
But I digress.
Back in the lab, I inspected my katydid with a magnifying glass and poked it with the eraser of my Ticonderoga #2 pencil, whereupon I was able to determine that my specimen had no intention of making any noise of any kind whatsoever. Several katydids later, I finally figured out how they make the racket. It was pretty satisfying. Now I’m telling everyone I know about the katydids. Nobody cares, unfortunately.
Katydid nymph photo [above] taken May 2009. Adult katydids (the ones around here, at least) look like leaves: