Back in the dark ages, before smartphones and the internet, the possibilities for being wrong about things were pretty much endless. Without siri or google to do your thinking for you, if you needed to settle an argument you had to find a book, which is a sort of retro, vintage website printed on paper.
They didn’t move and were rubbish at doing pictures, like a Kindle. If you wanted to be in with a chance of being right you had to absorb enough basic knowledge in your brain to find your way to a place that had books and then read one appropriate to whatever it was you were arguing about. Then you had to walk back, and hope your opponent hadn’t bored themselves to death or just caught on fire. It’s amazing that anybody bothered, but clearly they did, otherwise I don’t know how they would have inserted all those facts into Siri or Google in the first place.
Lots of these books were about science, an über-cool form of knowing about things which does more than just produce sweet pictures to share on Facebook: it is in fact a specially-designed way of arguing about what is right without getting angry and punching someone. If knowing about things is a monster truck, then science is the keys that start the engine. And petrol. And also the engine. As the title says, I really like science.
What is super weird is that levels of science in the atmosphere are higher than ever, but people are still wrong about up to 50% of all things. I don’t know if this is caused by the forces of gravity or Youtube’s decision to tempt fate by including a ‘dislike’ button, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. We’ve been around for 2015 years, so you’d think that people would have at least been taking notes as to what still needed proving, even after the world agreed that Hitler was wrong about everything except the Volkswagen Beetle. Here are four where the jury is still out, so avoid talking about them when you’re out of 3G reception unless you feel like getting punched.
Science controversy #1:
the theory of evolution
Over a great many years, science has established that mankind evolved from apes, who used to be in charge of the planet before they blew it up and forgot how to speak as a kind of punishment. I’m not certain of the details, but it probably involves DNA and Stephen Hawking (the original Dr Who). What I do know is that most people agree with this theory, apart from a very small number of people who don’t agree with any science that isn’t recorded in a religious book. They don’t even agree with other religious people, like Charles Darwin and that Muslim who invented maths (Mr Al Gebra). Most of these people live in America, where if you want to you are allowed to go to a school in somebody’s garage that teaches that dinosaurs died out because they couldn’t fit on Noah’s Ark. That does sound pretty cool, but unfortunately for them I’ve seen the story of how Darwin first set up Jurassic Park, and I didn’t hear any praying going on.
Verdict: evolution must be real, otherwise how do you explain labradoodles, and parrots that have learned to swear?
Science controversy #2:
A vaccine is a special kind of injection that stops small illnesses (measles; the lurgy) from getting big enough to turn into serious ones like ebola or cirrhosis of the liver. Vaccines are recommended by doctors, who are at university for ten years to learn how to be right about anything that involves the human body, and playing golf. Doctors are extremely sciencey, which is why it costs fifty quid to talk to one for a few minutes. They will tell you that vaccines, which only they are allowed to sell, are good for you. Against doctors is another side who don’t like vaccines: mainly a lady who was married to Jim Carey from Dumb and Dumber, and some people who only listen to folk music and eat quinoa. They think that vaccines will react with the fluoride in toothpaste and cause you to do everything the CIA says; they would prefer to live in a world where old people are killed regularly by measles and the lurgy instead of by the CIA at night when nobody is around to see.
Verdict: I think I believe doctors, because they get science from books and computers, whereas the other side get their science from dreams and feelings. When I’ve got a cold, it’s no use just to be given a packet of herbs from somebody who is afraid of gluten and thinks they used to be a dolphin.
Science controversy #3:
Britain doesn’t have a climate, it just has different types of rain, but there are lots of places in the world where having a climate is a real selling point, like Madagascar and Torremolinos. Sadly these places are under threat from factories that make carbon. The carbon is released into the atmosphere through car engines, which causes climates to reverse, like in old cartoons where everything in Australia is upside down.
Billionaires who build factories, aeroplanes and cars often insist this isn’t happening, and there are even a few scientists who agree, and not just because they all work for companies who sell oil. There are even billionaires who side with the scientists and admit they are changing the climate, but they aren’t as worried because they are all friends with Richard Branson and plan to go to the moon as soon as he can build a rocket that doesn’t explode.
Verdict: Professor Brian Cox and David Attenborough both say that the climate is changing, but Donald Trump doesn’t. Donald Trump has yet to realise that his hair has died and is now a ghost. Nuff said.
Science controversy #4:
Based on what I’ve read in the comment sections of websites, investigating famous assassinations is one of the few forms of science that you can do yourself. You don’t even need to have passed GCSE maths, or to be able to spell, you just need to draw diagrams on MS Paint and sooner or later you’ll work out that Osama Bin Laden can’t really have done 9/11 first thing in the morning because it takes way too long to get from a cave in Iraq to New York. Seriously, I’ve been there from London and it takes like three hours just to get through customs. Once you’ve “opened your eyes” and disproved “so called experts”, witnesses and Barack Obama you can teach yourself to be an expert in other famous murders such as JFK, Jack The Ripper, Shergar, Tupac Shakur, Dumbeldore and Princess Diana. My theory is that Puff Daddy was behind them all – he did it because he’s a lizard and wants to frighten Richard Branson into making him the only rapper allowed on his moon-base.
Verdict: You can believe Barack Obama, or you can believe somebody that makes youtube videos with gloomy music and spelling mistakes in the captions. It’s up to you. Either way Puff Daddy wins.