Science and Engineering and Fantasy –

by

Science is the process of gathering knowledge of the world. A scientist observes and draws conclusions from those observations. A scientist devises experiments to verify his observations. A scientist may or may not have some notion of how he thinks things will turn out, but a true scientist will never bias or falsify data. A true scientist will always honestly report what he observed and the laws which are demonstrated by his data. It is totally unthinkable that any honorable scientist would ever declare unverifiable and unrepeatable data as any kind of proof of anything. He might report the data that was gathered and state clearly and firmly that no conclusion was possible. Actually unverifiable and/or unrepeatable data might be some sort of negative proof, but as every scientist knows, negative proof can be quite tricky.

An engineer takes the information provided by the scientist and devises ways to apply said information to design and implement a solution to a given problem in the physical world. It is not unusual for the scientist and the engineer to be the same individual, but most often they are different people.

A technician takes the designs of the engineer and implements (or repairs) them. A good technician may know more about the particular field than the engineer doing the design, at least as far as actual implementation and hands-on skill. The technician may be the engineer and vice-versa.

I suppose you could think of it as the scientist provides the why, the engineer provides the what, and the technician provides the how. In between and amongst all the above there are business and financial types. Very few good scientists, engineers, or technicians are good business managers. Usually one of the above may have the vision to start a company, but unless someone is around who understands good management and finance the company will probably fail. On the other hand, good business managers frequently do not have the technical vision to know where the future direction of the field that the company practices should go. Oh yeah, I should mention that there had better be some good sales weasels in the mix. That business about the world beating a path to a better mousetrap only works when the world knows about the mousetrap. It takes a good mix of all to make a significant change in our lives. In and among all of the rest there are the investors, who provide the funds for development and implementation of new technologies. It may be a single investor who starts and drives a company, or it may be public funding via the stock offerings that the company makes. Basically, when stock is sold, the company is selling shares to get revenue. The investors have in turn bought a share of the future profits of the company. This model works very well. This model is what built the modern world. It was not any government investing. The problem with government investing is that the incompetent are not allowed to pay the price of their incompetence – failure and termination of existence. There are no government developed technologies which begin to rival those developed by private industry.

The nice thing about this way of development is that it works, and works well. Unfortunately, people now seem to live in some fantasy world and believe that just because they want something to be so – it must be so. Firstly, our people no longer want to study science, engineering, or technology. Our heroes are entertainers of various sorts. Athletes are worshipped. Actors are lionized. Popular musicians are idolized. Their silly ideas are taken seriously and their bad behavior is emulated by the young and foolish. Inner city children spend more time trying to be basketball stars – which the majority cannot achieve – than they do studying science, engineering, technology, or whatever – in which a good many could achieve success. It is a complete waste to eliminate “competitive play” from the schools when the images on the tube encourage bad behavior. We have also allowed the inmates to run the asylum and no longer enforce discipline, correct behavior, and basic learning in our pubic schools. We have so few really studying the important topics that we are importing science and technology and medical types from overseas. Make no mistake, I certainly do not disapprove of good immigrant professionals – indeed, I welcome them. However, we should be growing our own. I suppose this is all of the same fabric as the current notion that the left has forced on us such that we import so much oil instead of getting our own.

All this does apply to our current situation. We have “consensus science” on “global warming”. We have people devoutly and fervently believing that “alternative energy” is really here and the “evil corporations” are hiding it from “the peeeeepul”. We have a Congress that passes laws based on wishful thinking rather than hard facts. We have “the peeeepul” sitting around waiting for “the gummmint” to fix their broken lives. When you hear someone whimpering “the gummint oughta…..” and ask said individual why he doesn’t take control of his own life you will only get a dirty look. Or even worse just a blank stare, since most of the “sheep” have no idea of their individual responsibility for their own lives.

Fantasy is all well and good. I like to read it. I like to see it in movies. But – in the real world I do not wish for my future to be governed by someone else’s deluded fantasy. Drill oil now. The left is fond of saying that we cannot drill out way out. Nonsense. The same day that Bush removed the Presidential embargo on drilling the price on a barrel dropped a damn good bit. This was not even a real lifting of the ban, since the Congress hasn’t gotten off its dead behind. Just the mention of doing out own drilling reduced the price of a barrel!

Is drilling a long term solution? Maybe not. What is the short term? Is it ten years? One hundred? One thousand? No one really knows. However, whatever it is – we need to drill for immediate benefit. Do we need to pursue “alternative energy”? Certainly. In a rational and non-hysterical way. We do not need wishful thinking. We need good science, not junk. We need good engineering, not buildings that will collapse and destroy the people they are supposed to shelter. We need good technicians that can properly implement a viable future. We need finance to drive the next energy revolution. We need competent managers to shepherd companies that can insure that future generations are able to live and work freely and safely. We need finance and financial mangers to provide the funding for the infrastructure to deliver whatever “alternative energy” we come up with. Actors and athletes and other blow-hard entertainers cannot do this. Real technical people who understand math, science, and the real world can. Without educating our youth in science and engineering and technology and business and finance none of this can take place. If we do not get a grip on reality and live in the real world, not the fantasy, we are doomed. When I taught ballroom dancing I quickly realized that some of the people mistook the world of make-believe for the world of reality. Fantasy as entertainment is dandy. I like it. But taking make-believe for reality is dangerous. And too many people are living in the dream world today. If they do not die themselves then they will pass on a doomed world to our descendents.

People, wake up. Reform the schools and start really teaching the kids something besides the cotton candy that is out there now. Congress – wake up and start being statesmen instead of pimps. If you don’t do anything else just get out of the way. Anyone who can look at the Congress now and think that these bozos have even a little concern for anything other than themselves is blind.

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