Sunday, December 28, 2008

Celebrity Nonsense - Science Is Not Their Subject

Scientific Advisors - Oprah and Tom Cruise
From The Independent
Scientific illiteracy all the rage among the glitterati

When it comes to science, Barack Obama is no better than many of us. Today he joins the list of shame of those in public life who made scientifically unsupportable statements in 2008.
Closer to home, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith faltered on the science of food, while Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all get roastings for scientific illiteracy.

The Celebrities and Science Review 2008, prepared by the group Sense About Science, identifies some of the worst examples of scientific illiteracy among those who profess to know better – including top politicians.

Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all espoused the idea that you can detoxify your body with either diet (scientifically unsupportable) or, in the case of Moore, products such as "highly trained medical leeches" which make you bleed. Scientists point out that diet alone cannot remove toxins and that blood itself is not a toxin, and even if it did contain toxins, removing a little bit of it is not going to help.

highly trained medical she high? Exactly how do you train a leech?

Obviously, I assume that none of you would look to Nigella Lawson, Kate Moss or Demi Moore for scientifically based health advice.

But I ask, how many women worship at the "Church of Oprah"? Seriously...she has millions of female fans who believe everything she utters. And do I even need to go into the the whole "Woman's Conference" that she puts on every year where all the highly connected and wealthy California women from Maria Shriver down to the billionaire hedgefunder's wives go to get their update on the politically correct approach to the issues of the day.

So what does all this have to do with Coleridge and Newton?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Isaac Newton

Well just that this is nothing new.

There is something so "junior high" about all of this, like the way that the "cool kids" express their opinions on subjects they know nothing about, like science, to the their sycophant friends who are ever so ready to look down on the "geeks".

Taking this back to one of the ultimate hipsters of the late 18th Century, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Coleridge, best described by the The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature as a "poet, philosopher, theologian, critic, journalist and playwright", leaving out the part about him being an opium addict, wrote about Newton in an 1801 letter to Thomas Poole,

"My Opinion is this—that deep Thinking is attainable only by a man of deep Feeling, and that all Truth is a species of Revelation. The more I understand of Sir Isaac Newton's works, the more boldly I dare utter to my own mind ... that I believe the Souls of 500 Sir Isaac Newtons would go to the making up of a Shakspere [sic] or a Milton... Mind in his system is always passive—a lazy Looker-on an external World. If the mind be not passive, if it be indeed made in God's Image, & that too in the sublimest sense—the image of the Creator—there is ground for suspicion, that any system built on the passiveness of the mind must be false, as a system."

About the last thing that I would say about Newton was that he was a lazy looker on an external world.
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