Beep beep! Beep beep! And that's how science grows...

Monday, 2005-10-03; 12:41:00

There are only a few times when the different thoughts that I have create a complete idea which I want to write about. Usually, I have to think for a few weeks about a certain idea before I start to write. And then it's difficult to remember my thoughts, so many times I don't even write about these things.

Today, however, was different. A few months back, I downloaded an application called "DTV" -- the web site said that this application was like internet TV. I was mildly interested, so I downloaded it. It wasn't that interesting; I only found two things that I liked. The first was this short film. The second was Rocketboom.

Rocketboom is a "videoblog". You don't have to watch it in a web browser, but you can also subscribe to Rocketboom on iTunes, since iTunes can play video. You have to watch it a few times to really understand what it is: it's a program where Amanda Congden, the host, talks and comments a bit on various events and products in the world of tech, or she does an interview with someone. Many times she talks for only 10 seconds on six or seven things, but other times she talks the whole time about one thing. One time she went to a shop that only sold old computer games; another time she interviewed one of the directors of Current TV. The majority of the episodes of Rocketboom are funny but interesting at the same time -- I really like watching Rocketboom. Until today, I had watched Rocketboom for about three or four months.

Today, I found the time to watch the episodes of Rocketboom from the past week. When I started to watch the one from Tuesday, the music at the beginning of the episode was really familiar, even from the first note of the music. I hadn't even listened to one word of the lyrics.

I remembered this music from my childhood. When I was young, I listened to science songs, and the ones in that episode of Rocketboom were two of these songs. It had been about 10 or 15 years since I had listened to these songs, but I remembered them immediately. It's pretty amazing.

I found MP3s of the songs on the internet. (It was the first result in a Google search for "space songs".) The ones that I remember from when I w as little are all of the "Space Songs", especially "Friction", "Why Does the Sun Shine", and "Zoom a Little Zoom". They're really corny but also really catchy and educational. Remember that I was five or six at the time. Consider:

The light of the stars is steady and clear
but we see the stars through the atmosphere
The atmosphere has layers of air
The layers keep moving from here to there
Because of the different temperatures
The layers keep moving from here to there
The air moves in, the air moves out
And tosses the light of the stars about
The moving air bends the light
And that's why the stars twinkle at night

This was my childhood. :) Maybe it explains a bit about me. Listening to these songs another time makes me remember how ashamed I am about being part of a nation that is discussing whether we should teach students about the concept of "intelligent design" at school. The answer is a resounding "NO!" The concept of intelligent design mocks the scientific method -- it says that we can't explain some things, and so they have to have been made by an "intelligent creator", God that is. This idea is so stupid -- it's obvious that there will be some things that we won't be able to explain at this point, but it's not useless to study them. (The state of Kansas, also, put stickers on science textbooks that said "Evolution is a theory." Of course it's a theory, just like gravity is a theory!)

The idea of "irreducible complexity" is also ridiculous. The primary example comes from biology -- when one eliminates just one chemical from an appendage, it doesn't function any more, so it's not possible that it was created through the process of evolution. These appendages, however, could have been used for a totally different function, so they first evolved for this function. Then at some point, the appendage mutated and the function changed. These mysterious appendages don't need to be "made" by an intelligent creator. They aren't even mysterious -- we can explain them today!

The supporters of "intelligent design" make me so mad. No, intelligent design isn't a scientific theory. You can't design an experiment about the intelligent creator, so you can't verify the hypothesis of intelligent design. Therefore, it doesn't belong in the science curriculum. That's it. There's nothing to debate!

I'm not religious, but if I were, I wouldn't be so insecure of myself to say that science was a threat to my religion. It isn't! Science and religion can coexist; it's just that you can't treat religious texts literally. (Personally, though, I can't say whether there is a god or not. I can't prove that there is one or that there isn't one. I do believe, however, that if there is a god, he doesn't interfere with the universe, because we can explain most of the things in the world. And I think that those which we can't explain now we will be able to explain in the future.)

(I also have a newfound respect for the band "They Might Be Giants" -- they covered the song "Why Does the Sun Shine?", one of the science songs.)

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