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I. SCIENCE C: Theories 3. On Artistic Conceptions

27 Jan

The Virgin Mary Chastises the Baby Jesus

The line between art and science has become very thin and, I believe, totally blurred. To justify their scientific claims, to avail the world of the knowledge of their theoretical constructs, scientists have taken the devices of modeling and artist’s conception out of the studio and into the laboratory. As we have modelers who can construct a human body to the finest feature, or sculpt an imaginary monster like the Creature From The Black Lagoon, we have scientific modelers who can construct a working to-scale model of the Solar System, like Newton, or a working replica of a human body part. Indeed, practical science has sculpted artificial human organs like the Jarvik series of artificial and somewhat actually working, functional plastic human hearts.

But, unfortunately, and the reason for this section, is that many of the models, theoretical and 3-dimensional, on which we base scientific theories like Evolution and the Big Bang, are more griffin than pyramid, more cicatrix than circle. They are, too often, imaginary.

These Artistic Conceptions, which I will capitalize from now on when referring to only those involved with science, are no real problems in themselves. Certainly, as we have already alluded to, many, many great discoveries of importance or benefit to humanity have come from the model, either ethereal in the mind of its receiver, or from the work of his pen on paper, or with 3-dimensional materials. The problems arise when the model is allowed to stand on its own, without real-world, verifiable proof of utility.

One could even go so far as to say the problem is so rampant (I mean, just look at one issue of National Geographic, where they EMPLOY artists just for the purpose) that practical science has bowed to theoretical science, and that theoretical science is as of right now engaged in a perverted sort of idolatry, a worship of symbols of their own creation, which they then proceed to laud as the images of truth. Once in place, set in the proverbial stone, the model soon becomes outdated, its oracles found to be incorrect, and rather than tear the old idol down, the theoreticians proceed to break it, try to patch it up, and if that doesn’t work, they sculpt a new model and place it on the very same faulty foundation.

It will not be my place to prove this to you here. All I ask is that when you begin to research any of the aspects of the scientific explanation for the Origin of Man we have been discussing here, is that you pay some attention to the hypothetical (mental models), photographic, 3-dimensional, graphic, illustrative, and tabular models and hypotheses on which the science is based. Ask yourself, when you find these models (and it will be very soon in your research), whether the model alone is proof of the theory.

I’ll begin by letting you listen to the AUDIO of  “The first million years of cosmic sound compressed into ten seconds.” Have a listen!

And if you like that, you can hear more courtesy of the University of Virginia’s Department of Astronomy. One of my favorites is this sound, I’ve used the short version because, well, the long one is more of the same static. This static (bad tools, maybe?) is described as:

“The raw sound constructed from the observed angular power spectrum of the microwave background. This is the fundamental observational basis for Big Bang Acoustics. In practice, a number of distortions are present in these raw sounds, which have been removed using a sophisticated program (CMBFAST)”

If you’re into video, check this out, a perfect example of the artistic conceptions I am talking about. Roam around a few University Astronomy Departments, like here, here, and don’t forget here , the “Center for Theory and Computation,” whose entire mission is to ” …promote excellence and innovation in theoretical astrophysics” (one wonders if this is a Creative Writing Class, or Conceptual Art seminar…talk about being in the belly of the beast…)! See how many times you read the words “hypothetical,” “model,” “construct,” “construction,” “idealized,” “interpretation,” “simulation,” and even “artist’s conception” itself.

bigbang inflation-from-nasa3

This above is Big Bang Inflation, which we discussed previously. Below, another type of artistic conception you are probably more familiar with, and which we will get to in short time.

evolution

Hark back to last post when we discussed for a bit the way plastic surgeons make themselves judges of beauty, stepping outside their realm of expertise. With the case of Artist’s Conceptions the evaluation of a theory’s merit is too often a study in the beauty, or believability, of the model constructed to illustrate it. The case is little different here. Anyone can dream of anything, an origin of the world which began as a little flax seed, whose energy inside burst forth, and it would be easy to illustrate the direction and supposed speed of the burst. An artist like Dali or Picasso can make even the most unimaginable grotesque appear quite real.

The purpose of science is to give us an unbiased base whereby we may distinguish fact from fantasy. The erection of new theoretical fables not near the complexity or believability of the old ones, new worlds not nearly as logical as ones prior, new paradoxes which have yet to solve or even consider those of the past, and new dilemmas which are often brought on by their own theories, is decidedly not science. It is art, and while I love art, and respect real science, I don’t like this cohabitation one bit.

Next up, we begin our survey of the scientific explanation for the Origin of Life. As you will see, we are all slime, at bottom. From what I am reading about the theory behind Evolution and the Big Bang, though, I am just about certain some of us are much more in tune with our slimy aspect than others.

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