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Thursday, February 20, 2014

'The Dismal Science'

I just read the book review in the Star Tribune by Tom Zelman on the book entitled "The Dismal Science" by Peter Mountford.  I am not aware of this book until now. The book title intrigues me.  It is a novel, not a book about science, but I am being tempted to try to get the book and read it at some point. The review particularly quoted a comment in the book:
“Everyone was afraid of rogue waves, flu pandemics, texting while driving. Everyone said what they thought and everyone was wrong. Even the people who said they didn’t know anything were wrong. … There was nothing left to say, no option left but to keep talking. And so they did.” 
Hmm,  can it be applied to the current state of science in general?  I have never thought of freaque waves are in the company of flu pandemics and texting while driving.  I still don't think they belong together. Is that what people think of freaque waves? 

What comes to my mind is the rest of the quote: "Everyone said what they thought and everyone was wrong. Even the people who said they didn’t know anything were wrong. … There was nothing left to say, no option left but to keep talking. And so they did. . ." might very well be a wild description of modern science, including the world of freaque waves studies.  

But being a scientist, even in retirement, it is still a little unsettling to see an adjective "dismal" applied to the noble word of "science".  Perhaps science is indeed dismal when some of the so-called scientists have to claim that they belong to a special group of "overwhelming numbers" with "like minded" on some conclusion. If that's what science is, it is downright dismal indeed!  Thank God, the study of freaque waves is not like that yet!!!

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