Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh, Science, why do you do this to yourself?

First of all, cracked is a fantastic website and you all need to read it in its entirety. Even though this article about petty feuds in science is the one I'm focusing on right now. Go ahead, this will be here when you get back in a week.

Second of all, despite this article being absolutely hilarious, it's simultaneously depressing. I mean, just think about these comments for a moment:

"More depressing, though, is that John Harrison was one of history's most promising supergeniuses, and might have outshone everybody else on this list in terms of his total output of incredible discoveries, if not for the fact that the British government forced him to spend his entire life rebuilding the same clock over and over again."

"The backlash against this not-exactly-radical healthcare reform was so severe that doctors who had already practiced some form of personal hygiene stopped doing so, and went on compensating for their threatened manhood with ever longer probes. Over the next three years, childbirth mortalities almost tripled."

"Also it's commonly believed that Tesla would have received a Nobel Prize for his contributions to physics had Edison not sabotaged him at every turn."

Science, you're pretty awesome and all, and I'mma let you finish, but your pettiness is the greatest, most frustrating pettiness of all time! all time!

No matter how fantastic the logic behind the scientific method is, and no matter how beautiful the "search for the truth" may be, if scientists can't get their heads out of their asses and work together we will get nowhere.

As a somewhat sidenote, I find it interesting that I think capitalism both hinders and aids the scientific method in this regard. Competition is awesome because it motivates scientists to compete to make discoveries and inventions that will help us. But competition also promotes petty lies and thievery to win.

I'm looking at you, Watson and Crick.

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