Science blogger Chad Orzel treads on Superman’s cape
|April 15, 2014||Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Science, Just For Fun, News|
Superheroes are anti-science, and other breaking news:
That may sound like a crazy thing to say, given that there are numerous blog posts and books by people I know using superheros to teach science at varying levels of plausibility. And an awful lot of superheroes, including most of those appearing in the current run of Marvel movies, supposedly originate in science– Captain America was made in a lab (see image above, which I grabbed from this blog post about superhero science) as were his adversaries. But as I’ve been banging on about for months now, science isn’t just about gadgets, it’s a process, and superhero stories in general are fundamentally incompatible with the process of science.
What I mean by this is that the essential nature of the superhero story requires the hero to be singular, or at most a part of a small team. It’s about one person overcoming impossible odds to save the world via their own personal awesomeness and comic-book-science enhancements. These are, at their core, somewhere between power fantasies and a testament to the human spirit.
Science, on the other hand, is all about duplication. One of the most essential– arguably the most essential– steps of the scientific process is telling other scientists what you discovered. Whereupon they go into their own labs and duplicate what you did, and tease out further implications of it, and so on. The sharing of results is what lets the next generation of scientists stand on the shoulders of past giants.
Actually, we own the anti-science moniker, but the Justice League can borrow it any time they want.
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While we’re here, not everyone agrees with Orzel (not clear how much he agrees with himself):