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Scientific Ideas that must die

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
I heard a great podcast today about scientific ideas that should be put to rest.
Freakonomics » This Idea Must Die: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast
Basically there are ideas that we think are based in truth that actually are not and society acts on the falsehoods when we shouldn't be. An example is people are either right-brained or left-brained and many schools base placement on this faulty theory. Many different experts weighed in on falsehoods such as mice are suitable for testing drugs and the Big Bang Theory.


An idea I think should die is oil comes from fossil fuels. I've heard the peak oil theory my whole life and the models of oil production have always been wrong. Additionally, I see oil being drilled miles below the ocean and in other locations free of former carbon based life. The idea of oil being limited affects a ton of policy decisions and provides a pessimistic view on humanity's future. That's one idea that I believe has been proven wrong and should die.

What idea do you think should die?
 

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
An idea I think should die is oil comes from fossil fuels. I've heard the peak oil theory my whole life and the models of oil production have always been wrong. Additionally, I see oil being drilled miles below the ocean and in other locations free of former carbon based life. The idea of oil being limited affects a ton of policy decisions and provides a pessimistic view on humanity's future. That's one idea that I believe has been proven wrong and should die.
You realize the ocean is full of carbon-based lifeforms such as plankton and algae, which then get buried under layers of sedimentary rock, right? I'm curious where this proof is that oil comes from other sources.
 

The_Chameleon

Grandmaster
Oil is a renewable resource as long as you consider a million year turnover rate to be "renewable". Some have considered that oil may be the result of entirely geological processes, but either way, what we need to concern ourselves with is not the limitedness of the resource, but the limited tolerance of the natural environment to the release of trillions of tonnes of additional carbon each year, every year. The idea that we can continue to dump endless amounts and types of contamination into our soil, air, and water without any meaningful consequences is an idea that needs to die, along with the junk science that is used to promote it.


Now we're aiming our sights at depths that are far below what we've already proven we lack the reliable means to safely drill at in locations much more climatically turbulent than those of the Gulf of Mexico. If we have a pipe shear-off at the base as what happened there in waters as deep as the Orphan Basin, we will NEVER be able to stop the leak. It would make what happened in the Gulf look like a minor oops by comparison. But hey, we don't need oceanic life anyway. It's only the base of THE FOOD CHAIN! <grumble grumble>


While we're at it, we should base our agriculture around Round-Up ready monoculture Frankenfood grown from terminator seeds. Nothing wrong with disease prone crops grown in human waste (containing traces of pharmaceuticals) and the worlds most toxic and persistent pesticide (which also leads to CCD) from seed that produces sterile plants. What could possibly go wrong? And it's not like you can know anyways because it's been decided that GMO's shouldn't be labeled as such. What you don't know won't hurt you, so bon appetit!


Here's an idea that needs to die (before we do). NASA wants to start knocking asteroids our way so they can study them up close. Whups! Forgot to carry the one, sorry people of Earth. My bad!


The only possible explanation for why humanity has not yet wiped itself out is divine intervention. For some inexplicable reason, God has still got our back. If there's a colossally bad idea that we as a species have not followed through on yet, don't worry, we're sure to find it soon. It's important to complete the collection (apparently).



- Cham
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
One idea I think is wrong is the age of the Sphinx, I think its much older than they say. I think it was built right after the last ice age when Egypt was much wetter and not by Khafra around 2500 BC. It has too much water damage.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
Yeah, that's true. What I mean is the idea that oil is imminently in short supply needs to die. Whether it comes from fossils or is naturally occurring, there is plenty of it. Peak oil books that I read 20 years ago had Alaska and Saudi dry by now and those same wells are producing more than ever. I'm not saying its not dirty, I just think the idea that we're almost out is chicken little and the worst decisions always come from that.
 

dDave

Well-Known Member
V.I.P.
One idea I think is wrong is the age of the Sphinx, I think its much older than they say. I think it was built right after the last ice age when Egypt was much wetter and not by Khafra around 2500 BC. It has too much water damage.
The Sphinx is made out of limestone. That can erode very quickly.

Yeah, that's true. What I mean is the idea that oil is imminently in short supply needs to die. Whether it comes from fossils or is naturally occurring, there is plenty of it. Peak oil books that I read 20 years ago had Alaska and Saudi dry by now and those same wells are producing more than ever. I'm not saying its not dirty, I just think the idea that we're almost out is chicken little and the worst decisions always come from that.
You have to wonder if the whole oil being in short supply claim was politically driven or if they really did think that we were running out.

Now, I'm not saying that we should just use all that oil (while I do think a lot of climate change stuff is a joke, I do still think it's not the best for the environment)
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
The podcase and the book: Amazon.com: This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress (Edge Question Series) (9780062374349): John Brockman: Books
are really about things that we assume are true and we base decisions off the false information when in reality they are not true.

Here's another one I thought of: Nuclear power is dangerous. This idea has been prevalent for 40 years. The federal government is extremely slow to approve nuclear power because of this falsehood. In reality if you look at all of the nuclear accidents the only one that cost lives was in Russia. Nuclear power is the safest form of energy on the planet but we've been conditioned for 40 years to fear it.
 

The_Chameleon

Grandmaster
The podcase and the book: Amazon.com: This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress (Edge Question Series) (9780062374349): John Brockman: Books
are really about things that we assume are true and we base decisions off the false information when in reality they are not true.

Here's another one I thought of: Nuclear power is dangerous. This idea has been prevalent for 40 years. The federal government is extremely slow to approve nuclear power because of this falsehood. In reality if you look at all of the nuclear accidents the only one that cost lives was in Russia. Nuclear power is the safest form of energy on the planet but we've been conditioned for 40 years to fear it.

Nuclear power is safe if you ignore the fact that the waste product is so radioactive that all we can do is embed it in granite and bury it deep underground and hope that it never ever gets out. Perfectly safe as long as fissures don't appear in the granite that allow ground water to penetrate through to the nasty contents. But what we should maybe consider is how economical nuclear power is when you factor in the cost of safely decommissioning nuclear reactors that have reached the end of their life span. A detail that gets conveniently swept under the rug. I think, among energy myths that need to die, is the one about green energy not being reliable. We have energy storage and transmission technologies now that can efficiently store energy from wind, wave, and solar energy during peak production times and efficiently transmit it when needed. Moreover, bio-methane can be produced from the worlds most abundant waste products (garbage and sewage) 24-7 and piped through existing natural gas infrastructure, as well as burned in place of more polluting hydrocarbons to power the grid.


I think the greatest scientific myth though is social evolution. I'm still waiting for evidence that it exists. We rely on outdated and inefficient ways of doing things when there are big bucks on the line, rather than changing in the interest of our own survival and quality of life, even when the means exist to do so.

Social evolution is supposed to work like this...
Stage 1: I am important
Stage 2: Family is important
Stage 3: My community is important
Stage 4: My nation/people is/are important
Stage 5: People are important
Stage 6: Life is important

Throw money into the mix and we're still stuck at stage 1, MAYBE at best stage 2. (Not withstanding the pretense of the higher stages for personal interest). We will be burning oil until (like the old commercial depicted) we're having to stop off at pay oxygen tanks throughout our day for a few breaths of clean air. Even then, the biggest complaint will be about the price. Social evolution my a$$.



- Chameleon
 

The_Chameleon

Grandmaster
Yeah, that's true. What I mean is the idea that oil is imminently in short supply needs to die. Whether it comes from fossils or is naturally occurring, there is plenty of it. Peak oil books that I read 20 years ago had Alaska and Saudi dry by now and those same wells are producing more than ever. I'm not saying its not dirty, I just think the idea that we're almost out is chicken little and the worst decisions always come from that.
No, as it turns out we're not "almost out". I wish the f~ck we were, but the fact that we've discovered oceans of oil under the oceans means we'll be filling our atmosphere with carbon until we're all facing an apocalyptic climate, and even then we won't stop, and when we're choking on smog from coast to coast, we won't stop. We'll NEVER stop polluting the crap out of our environment because there is still plenty of sh!t to pollute it with. So yeah, any myth that we may be running out of oil that might inspire people and industry to be more environmentally responsible should definitely die because industry needs to make their decisions based on existing, tried and true ways of making money hand over fist, as they always have. F~ck the environment, f~ck climate, f~ck smog, f~ck asthma epidemics, f~ck rising oceans, melting ice caps, coastal flooding, melting permafrost and methane plumes. F~ck the ozone layer, f~ck oceanic life, and f~ck the food chain. We've got oil to burn boys and girls! Let's get to work!


... Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to turn on all the lights and appliances in my house... Why? BECAUSE I CAN! :D




- Cham
 
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