Measured Against Reality

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Am a Science Fanboy

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a science fanboy.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a fanboy is someone who is in love with a brand. He has all their merchandise (that he can afford) and worships it. The brand can do no wrong. The single biggest example is Apple, they have the largest, loudest, and most obnoxious fanboys (at least in my experience). Nintendo has them too, as does most other technology brands (and I’m sure most brands have them).

The fanboys defend their brand to the death. It is always right, it is always better. If someone insults their brand, they must respond, even if the person was just trolling. They frequently spout about how great their brand is, and how everything else is just awful (or at least not as good). The trivialize (or ignore) their flaws, while gloating about their strengths. Most of the time, they’re pretty annoying, as they refuse to consider, even for a minute, that their brand might not be the best in every way (or even, in the extreme cases, bad in any way).

I share many of those traits. I will defend science to the death. If someone insults it, I will defend it. I have quite frequently explained why science is great, and why I love it. I glorify its strengths (the best way of examining nature we have ever found) and its successes (which are too numerous to count). I’m not entirely convinced science (the method) has flaws, however I’m certain that the body of knowledge it has collected contains more than a few. But I do think that science is the best, and that nothing out there can beat it in any regard.

Nothing comes close to its ability to determine the truth of claims, or its ability to figure out the strange world we inhabit. Nothing else is self-correcting, with mistakes being weeded out constantly. Nothing else has increased our quality of life and our knowledge of the world as much.

And the best part of it all is that knowing how the world works makes it that much more beautiful. At the heart of every scientist there are two things: someone who has a child-like enthusiasm for figuring out how things work; and someone who loves nature, who is astounded by its beauty, and who wants to be able to appreciate that beauty on the deepest level of all: by understanding it.

Those are the qualities of a science fanboy. I am a science fanboy.

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