Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Idiot Lives

I had an epiphany.

Epiphanies are great things.  Our world has been shaped by them.

Once the skies were controlled by crystal spheres.  To the south was a land of fire.  To the west was an endless ocean.  When something was forgotten, it was gone forever.

Then somebody (or, lots of somebodies) had an epiphany.  Our universe was governed by forces and matter.  Our world a sphere.  We write things down instead of using complicated memory tricks.

There are people who have epiphanies about how the universe works and then spend years trying to understand them, to prove if they are true.  We call them scientists. 

There are people who take these discoveries and transform them into things that improve our lives (lights, medicine, airplanes, etc.).  We call them engineers. 

There are people who try to explain complicated ideas to the next generation.  We call them teachers. 

And there are people who don’t know or understand science or engineering, don’t care to learn or teach how they work, but benefit from their advances nonetheless. 

We call them idiots.

This is my big epiphany.

There are people who don’t care, for example, that time dilates as speed increases.  They don’t care that engineers spent countless hours of work figuring out how to compensate for this effect when they built satellites.  All they care is, when they turn their cell phones on the clock is always accurate.

There are people who take just the barest understanding of a scientific concept and try to use it in a way it wasn’t meant to be used.  They hear a one sentence description of the Uncertainty Principle and decide it means nobody can know anything.  They hear about the complexity of evolutionary theory and insist it must be fake because they don’t hear about the years of scientific discoveries that led up to Darwin and the piles of evidence that support evolution.

And you know what?  That’s okay.  Because the idiots are being left behind.  Every advance we make.  Every truth we discover.  Every step we take out of the darkness is a step away from them.

Don't argue with them.  Don't try to make them see the light.  Let them huddle in the dark and whisper to each other.  We’re better off without them.

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