Satire – Black holes don’t exist–or so renown astrophysicist Stephen Hawking now believes, which has Representative Michele Bachmann livid about science. Hawking now claims that his original theories concerning black holes may have been his “biggest blunder.” In a recent paper Hawking wrote, which has yet to go through peer review, he has stated that black holes do not exist as we understand them.
The basic theory of black holes: they are regions of space/time so dense that light cannot escape the gravitational pull, and that they have event horizons, that is, a point of no return. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity allows for the existence of black holes, though quantum mechanics throws a paradoxical wrinkle in the equation in the form of a “firewall,” a region around the black hole made up of particles that have escaped it. This firewall, in a thought experiment, is believed to burn an astronaut to a crisp long before the black hole’s intense gravity could crush him or pull him apart.
So what does all of this have to do with presidential candidate hopeful Republican Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann? Nothing, besides inciting her to launch a diatribe against science in general and Hawking in particular. She was not shy about expressing her opinion that society’s biggest blunder is listening to scientists like Hawking. She goes on to say that if the theory of the existence of black holes was a mistake, how many other theories, such as evolution and climate change “foisted” upon society are also untrue? Bachmann goes on to suggest that students who were forced to learn about black holes in college should sue Dr. Hawking for a refund. She also proudly admits to not having taken any science classes in college.
Michele Bachmann’s livid attack on Hawking and science has also gained enough attention to result in a statement by Republican Representative and Chairman of the House Science Committee Lamar Smith:
“Going forward, members of the House Science Committee will do our best to avoid listening to scientists.”
Exactly who do the members of the House Science Committee plan on listening to on matters of science? That contradictory statement should have people scratching their heads trying to figure that one out.
Science is responsible for such things as the use of electricity for lighting and heating and power. Science is responsible for NASA’s existence and the plethora of space missions as a result, past and present. Science is responsible for advances in technology and the general increase in the quality of life since the use of rock and wooden tools. This is but a few things science is responsible for. Perhaps Bachmann could do without her cell phone, her computer, or her tablet? These devices are the result of computer science.
Bachmann has the potential to become a strong presidential candidate. Should she win, will her first major act in office be to dismantle NASA? Perhaps completely do away with the House Science Committee altogether? Remove the teachings of science in schools? Abolish all scientific research including those that may lead to cures of major diseases? Are scientists not allowed to make mistakes and reverse their thinking on such theories as the nature of black holes? The list could go on, but the real worry is that someone so lividly anti-science should gain power to accomplish any of those objectives.
By Lee Birdine