Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Candles in the Dark

Ugh this post is really not going to be honorable enough or eloquent enough to warrant the Sagan reference in the title, but I think its appropriate.

When I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut. I loved Star Trek, I loved Star Wars, I wanted to explore new worlds, and I thought space was the only place I could go for that. I went to Space Camp a couple times, took a course on astronomy, just in love with all of it. The idea of doing things and seeing things that no one had seen before.

I decided my path to space was going to be through the Air Force Academy. If most astronauts were in the military, then I was going to join the military. I worked my ass off to get into their ‘Summer Scientific Seminar’—if you got into that camp, you were for all intents and purposes guaranteed a spot in the Academy for college. I got in. Only two people from every state got to go, and I got in. The path was laid for ERV to be an astronaut!!! WHOOO!!!

So what happened? I dunno. Through a series of fortunate events, I grew disillusioned with the USAFA. I didn’t fit in with the other students. I didn’t fit in with the atmosphere of the university. It wasn’t ‘right.’ I grew disillusioned with astronomy. Nebulas are amazing, but I was never going to get to fly near one. I was never going to put my feet on another planet. All space could offer me was cold. By the time this all hit me I was graduating high school and I needed to make some decisions about my future, so I decided to go into biology. I was meh about it at first. Honestly, I just did it for med school. What else could you do with a degree in biology?


BWAHAHAHAHA! Again, though a series of fortunate and completely unintentional events—I found a way to explore new worlds! I realized a couple days ago that the reason why I love my job so much is that Im getting to live out my childhood dreams, though I thought they were killed years ago by impossibility. No one else on the planet is doing what Im doing (well, except my boss)—Im exploring a part of this universe that none of us have seen before! People are depending on my observations to make a map to explore other parts of the universe! And to be completely trite—this universe is right in front of our faces, not far far away.

And Im not the only one doing this! Scientists all over the planet are busy exploring, discovering, observing things no one has seen or understood before! As Sagan put it, we’re candles lighting the dark of the universe. And right now I friggen feel like Im dancing around a bon fire (sure we’re still surrounded by darkness, but all of our candles put together looks real bright right now). I know I suck at explaining what I do to my friends. My parents don’t even ask what I do any more—its just “Are you enjoying work? Gooood!”. But I really really do try to light other peoples candles. I try to get them excited about science, whatever theyre interested in.

Yet some people don’t want their wicks lit. They want to live in the dark, or at least they think they do. I cant say why, I cant even imagine. But a group of the leaders of the Dark are most definitely the Creationists. They work so hard to keep their followers in the dark, some spending their lives dedicated to extinguishing candles. They teach those with extinguished flames to fear the light of science. Or delude themselves into thinking their ignorance is a camp fire. But I think this methodology is finally catching up to the leaders of the Creationist movement.

Recently, as I posted about, the discovery of RNAi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine… Go to Answers in Genesis, the YEC go-to site. Search for RNAi. Go to Harun Yahya, the Islamic counterpart. Search for RNAi. Go to ICR. Go to ARN. Go to DI.


Im about to start using siRNA myself—its absolutely necessary for my PhD project. Im dancing RIGHT up against the flames of science right now, and using siRNA and evolution. The leaders of Creationism are so scared of science that they cant address modern science! Second law of thermodynamics, they feel safe with. Evolutionists are evil, they feel safe with. Eyes are too complex, they feel safe with. But mention some new world that they haven’t even imagined, some fantastic mechanism they didn’t even know existed, and theyre scared to death to even address it.

Just a very strange observation.


Gerald said...

I just finished watching Sagan's Cosmos series last week. It was such a loss when he died. He could explain things so easily that even someone like me could understand. I've also read three of his books, with the Demon Haunted World being my favorite.

I am a laymen, but it dismays me when I know more about science than many professional creationists. It makes me scratch my head in wonder when I realize that they are the leaders of the movement, and a laymen like me with no formal training in science can see through there nonsense.

ERV said...

**sigh** I wish we had another Sagan. I remember watching 'Cosmos' on PBS when I was little, and I used to make my dad read the book to me so I could look at the pretty pictures of the universe.

And there is soooo many cool things weve learned since he died. He would have loved the stuff weve learned about genetics.

As to the professional creationists, some people think they really believe what they say-- I dont. But I dont know what the 'pull' is for them. Getting respect they couldnt earn the hard way (real science). Getting money they couldnt earn an honest way. Getting status in their social circles. I just dont know. But honestly, I dont care about them, and I think we should simply stop acknowledging their existance. Focus on the Average Joe Creationist-- You and I can see through their science, but not everybody can. Where everyone can see the disparity between Evolution and Creationism is the practicality-- we need to keep stressing this.

Anonymous said...

I love this post...