January 08, 2004

Good, Something is Wrong

from - smijer

First: notice the new entry under my Science blog-roll. I happened on Quark Soup long ago, and planned to keep track of it. Well, I forgot.

Today, Zimmer reminded me by linking to David's post on global warming. By the way: CJG took me to task in the comment section for giving Neal Boortz a pass on his global warming spin from today. I can't say much, but I could have at least said this: Neal is a lawyer and a oily-mouthed radio hack. He has no business second-guessing scientists on issues of science. Hopefully there will be more to come, but since I am no scientist myself, it will have to come from somebody more knowledgeable than me.

Anyhoooo... I was browsing Quark Soup, and came across this recent entry. Apparently, the standard model is finally making a prediction that doesn't agree precisely enough with experiment. That's huge. When a theory doesn't agree with experiment, three things happen:

1. Creationists cry "gotcha! See, evolution is disproven!"
2. I feel remorse about career and education decisions.
3. Scientists learn something they didn't know before.

It's the third thing that makes this so huge. You see, the standard model is (even now) the most accuarate predictor of experimental results in scientific history. It just doesn't get things wrong. When it does, there is hope of unpeeling another layer of reality's onion. These sorts of problems shape the debate for years to come. That's how science moves forward. Asking the right questions is even more important than giving the right answers. Disagreement between a fundamentally sound theory and sound experiment shines a bright spot-light on the right questions, where they may have lain hidden in murky shadows before.

This is cause to be excited.

P.S. I'm a new Uncle. Emily Brianne was born today, and Mrs. smijer is tickled pink to be an aunt. Its the first baby girl in her family. Cheers!


Posted by smijer at January 8, 2004 08:01 PM

Congratulations on the new arrival. As Carl Sandburg said "a new baby is Gods opinion that the world should go on". (If you are an atheist I hope you do not find the quote offensive)

I was a bit surprised that you did not mention the fact that in today's Nealz Nuze Boortz made the statement that our airports are no more safe today than they were before 9/11. I guess it is blasphemy to say the country is no safer but you can say what you want about the airports!

univar.jpg Posted by boortzlistener on January 8, 2004 09:58 PM
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Ha! I didn't even catch that. I've got a job. Neal screws up full-time and I only blog part-time. I'm glad I'm not the only one watching him!

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on January 8, 2004 10:04 PM
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