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Migently Mountain Manifesto – Stave the Third

 

11.

Science is not a set of facts. Science is a process. The process is to

a) observe,

b) speculate,

c) propose an explanation (or “theory”),

d) devise an experiment which
i) can be repeated (“replicable”) and
ii) can prove the theory false (“falsifiable”)

e) run the experiment, and then

f) assess whether the results have falsified the proposition.

g) If the proposition (the theory) is not falsified it survives until it is falsified or modified.

Science is, therefore, that body of conjecture which has not yet been disproved.

No true scientist will claim that “a fact has been proved”. However, some propositions such as evolution, relativity, quantum theory and global warming are so robust and have survived so much rigorous and repetitive testing that the probability of them being “facts” is so high as to render them what in everyday discourse would be considered facts.

In a criminal trial the test is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. In a civil trial the burden of proof is the “balance of probabilities”. All of those scientific theories listed above pass both tests easily. Religion passes neither.

That is why they still refer to evolution as a theory, not because they’re a bit uncertain but because nothing in science is an absolute fact.

Religious “facts”, in contrast, are worse than theories and are far from scientific. The data are not replicable, nor are they falsifiable since non-falsifiability is specifically built into the theory. Religion is based on faith, which is in essence a desperate hope against hope.

Often people confuse science with technology. Science is the process described above. Technology is putting the findings to practical use – usually by building things (although it is true that sometimes technology comes first – gosh, first we build a bike (look, mum, no hands) and then we do the science about gyroscopic forces. And then we build more advanced things, like gyro compasses.

 

12.

Evolution is not a force.

It does not have any intention. It’s simply a description and explanation of what happens.

Evolution is a fact as much as anything is a fact (see above).

Evolution is not design and there is no designer. No living thing (except possibly humans) ever thought “I think I’ll grow me some wings – that would be an excellent adaptation!” Creatures do not choose to evolve to fit a niche. Environments change. All individual creatures are born with mutations, whether through DNA transcription errors, or genes being modified by chemicals, or gamma radiation, or whatever. Many of those mutations will debilitate the creature and it will die before procreating. Most will make no difference at all. Some will from time to time make the creature better suited to the changing environment. It will thrive (unless hit by a rock or killed by a serpent) and have offspring and the offspring will inherit the new genetic code.

Sir Roger differs from Darwin in this – the likelihood that a potentially advantageous mutation will survive in the right place at the right time is incredibly unlikely. So evolution is, in Sir Roger’s view, the Survival of the Luckiest.

So stop talking as if evolution is going anywhere, or has a plan, or, worst of all, an intellect. Once again, evolution is simply the description of what happens, and why.

 

13.

The universe does not have any agenda.

Specifically the universe does not have any agenda for you.

It does not have intentions about you or about anything, including itself.

The universe is utterly pointless. There is no reason for it to exist besides the fact that it does.

The universe is also unbelievably, incomprehensively improbable.

So are you.

What there is to do about this is to marvel at the amazingness, the practically infinite improbability that not only is the universe here but also you are here and able to observe it.

Anyone who really appreciated the extent of the astonishing extraordinariness of the utter improbability of these two things not only existing but being on the one hand so immensely huge and wondrous and complex and unfathomable, and on the other hand, well, here at all, the brain of anyone who really got this would explode (see Total Perspective Vortex).

 

14.

You can stop looking for “The Meaning of Life”.

There isn’t one, except for the meaning you choose to give your own life.

 

15.

Immunisation works. Your child is far more likely to die from not having an injection than to become ill from having one. The whole immunisation and autism thing, and the conspiracy theory that has built up around it, was a scam from the beginning, bad science, and wacko-the-diddle-o, frankly.

Also, if you do not immunise your children you are not just failing to protect them, you are endangering everyone else’s kids. As a result of this nonsense dangerous, debilitating diseases are on the rise, and not only among the children of those gullible, stupid people who have take up the anti-immunisation cause.

Global warming is real.

UFOs are not.

Men really did walk on the moon.

If you believe any of these things is a conspiracy remember to keep taking the medication and see your therapist regularly.

“The Secret” is complete Bullshit. *

So is “The Law of Attraction”. *

    *Mistrust anyone who tells you their product is based on science.

Scientology is a scam and a dangerous one at that.

Mormonism is just ridiculous.

Both are clearly ludicrous and rely on the gullibility of the first responders and then on the familial influence of parents on their children (like all religions).

They are both only slightly more ludicrous than most other religions.

People, by the way are not “born a catholic” or “born a muslim”. That is disgusting language and child abuse. Children are simply born, wide-eyed and wondering. Then their parents tell them they have to believe X or they’ll go to hell. That’s when they discover fear and hang onto their parents’ religious beliefs to avoid eternal torture.

 

 

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