Quick Question: David Brooks — willed stupidity or mere useful idiocy?…part one
Just a quick post before heading out to contemplate much more interesting minds than that of Mr. Brooks at Science Online ’09, but reading today’s column, a number of howlers stood out. I’ll try to get to the meat of them in posts between conference sessions tomorrow, but to begin at the beginning — check this out:
Once there was just Newtonian physics and the world seemed neat and mechanical. Then quantum physics came along and revealed that deep down things are much weirder than they seem.
Reading Brooks say anything about science produces the sensation of watching a kid play with a whole box of kitchen matches. Nothing good can come of this.
I admit that this has nothing to do with the main argument of his piece, which possesses its own follies to be ridiculed in due course. And maybe it’s pedantry to demand a bit of rigor in all those intellectual glittery bits Brooks wants to toss off so casually so that we may bow down (and suspend our critical judgment) before his transcendent wisdom on all other matters.
But I’ve found it a pretty good guide that if someone b.s.’s you on the small stuff, he or she is probably not what you would call reliable on anything of more import. Brooks doesn’t disappoint in the rest of the piece — but that exegesis is for another post. Here just ponder his latest monument to what very clever people worked very hard to understand over a span of centuries.
Image: nonexistent due to painfully slow internet connection at the hotel within which I type this. Sorry. To be adjusted if the wireless at the meeting site can take the strain.Explore posts in the same categories: bad writing, Journalism and its discontents, physics