No Silver Bullets

Humans are lazy, short-sighted creatures, and that makes perfect evolutionary sense.  When you’re starving to death in an unfamiliar forest, you don’t have time or energy to make plans for ten years later, or to waste on superfluous activities.  In evolutionary terms, laziness is just another word for efficiency.  Long term planning and the capacity for delayed gratification came with the development of the higher reasoning cortex and the capacity for complex thought, and our brains have a constant battle between the impulsive, instinctual brain and the reasoned, thoughtful brain.  It’s no surprise, then, that we are always looking for silver bullets.

Conservation and Cycles

In any closed system, quantities must be conserved.  Thermodynamics inform us that energy is conserved.  Linear and angular momentum are both conserved, whether we’re looking at billiard balls in a Newtonian paradigm, or photons in a quantum system.  Special relativity expands conservation even further to the equivalence between matter and energy.  In a closed system, where nothing can escape, quantities are inevitably conserved.

Don’t Trust the Science

We've been hearing a lot recently about how we need to "trust the science," and "follow the science." Anyone who does not agree with the science or the above statements tends to be labeled as unintelligent, ignorant, or otherwise mentally backward, perhaps irresponsible. It is one thing for politicians to use such phrases for political leverage and advantage: science has been invoked for political purposes for about as long as science has existed. To me, it is far more dismaying to see people who claim to be scientists themselves undermining the very essence of what science is supposed to be.