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Science blogger Chad Orzel treads on Superman’s cape

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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):

4 Replies to “Science blogger Chad Orzel treads on Superman’s cape

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Well it was about time someone got around labeling at least Superman as ‘unscientific’. He opposes Darwinism you know, and anyone who opposes Darwinism can’t possibly be scientific. 🙂

    In Man of Steel, Superman Is Pursued by Darwinian Bad Guys – June 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....73281.html

    But then again, there is the whole X-men genre in which they supposedly received their superpowers by beneficial ‘macro-mutations’. So I guess the X-men could be labelled ‘pro-science’ since they support Darwinian evolution. But wait a minute, no one has ever seen a truly beneficial ‘macro-mutation’. 🙁 So since, according to Orzel, ‘Science, on the other hand, is all about duplication’, (what in the world does Orzel do with the one time event of the Big Bang?) then I guess that makes X-men unscientific too!

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 – May 2013
    Excerpt: It is almost universally acknowledged that beneficial mutations are rare compared to deleterious mutations [1–10].,, It appears that beneficial mutations may be too rare to actually allow the accurate measurement of how rare they are [11].
    11. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501.
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0006

    Evolution vs. Genetic Entropy – Andy McIntosh – video
    https://vimeo.com/91162565

    Also of note to Orzel’s definiton of a superhero, ‘one person overcoming impossible odds to save the world via their own personal awesomeness’, that actually is not merely a comic book illusion but is really the truth in one Person:

    The Easter Question – Eben Alexander, M.D. – March 2013
    Excerpt: More than ever since my near death experience, I consider myself a Christian -,,,
    Now, I can tell you that if someone had asked me, in the days before my NDE, what I thought of this (Easter) story, I would have said that it was lovely. But it remained just that — a story. To say that the physical body of a man who had been brutally tortured and killed could simply get up and return to the world a few days later is to contradict every fact we know about the universe. It wasn’t simply an unscientific idea. It was a downright anti-scientific one.
    But it is an idea that I now believe. Not in a lip-service way. Not in a dress-up-it’s-Easter kind of way. I believe it with all my heart, and all my soul.,,
    We are, really and truly, made in God’s image. But most of the time we are sadly unaware of this fact. We are unconscious both of our intimate kinship with God, and of His constant presence with us. On the level of our everyday consciousness, this is a world of separation — one where people and objects move about, occasionally interacting with each other, but where essentially we are always alone.
    But this cold dead world of separate objects is an illusion. It’s not the world we actually live in.,,,
    ,,He (God) is right here with each of us right now, seeing what we see, suffering what we suffer… and hoping desperately that we will keep our hope and faith in Him. Because that hope and faith will be triumphant.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....79741.html

    and:

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

    If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light which made the “3D – photographic negative” image on the Shroud I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright ‘Light’ or ‘Being of Light’ who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before.

    “Suddenly, I was enveloped in this brilliant golden light. The light was more brilliant that the light emanating from the sun, many times more powerful and radiant than the sun itself. Yet, I was not blinded by it nor burned by it. Instead, the light was a source of energy that embraced my being.”
    Ned Dougherty’s – Fast Lane To Heaven – Quoted from “To Heaven and Back” pg. 71 – Mary C. Neal MD

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – (testimony of experience starts at 27:33 mark of video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voak1RM-pXo&feature=player_detailpage#t=1643

    “The Light was brighter than hundreds of suns, but it did not hurt my eyes. I had never seen anything as luminous or as golden as this Light, and I immediately understood it was entirely composed of love, all directed at me. This wonderful, vibrant love was very personal, as you might describe secular love, but also sacred.
    Though I had never seen God, I recognized this light as the Light of God. But even the word God seemed too small to describe the magnificence of that presence. I was with my Creator, in holy communication with that presence. The Light was directed at me and through me; it surrounded me and pierced me. It existed just for me.” –
    testimony from Kimberly Clark Sharp’s Near Death Experience

    “The only human emotion I could feel was pure, unrelenting, unconditional love. Take the unconditional love a mother has for a child and amplify it a thousand fold, then multiply exponentially. The result of your equation would be as a grain of sand is to all the beaches in the world. So, too, is the comparison between the love we experience on earth to what I felt during my experience. This love is so strong, that words like “love” make the description seem obscene. It was the most powerful and compelling feeling. But, it was so much more. I felt the presence of angels. I felt the presence of joyous souls, and they described to me a hundred lifetimes worth of knowledge about our divinity. Simultaneous to the deliverance of this knowledge, I knew I was in the presence of God. I never wanted to leave, never.”
    Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience Testimony
    http://iands.org/experiences/n.....sence.html

    As to what is a comic book illusion and what is truly real:

    “I think death is an illusion. I think death is a really nasty, bad lie. I don’t see any truth in the word death at all” –
    Pam Reynolds Lowery (1956 – May 22, 2010)

    The extremely ‘monitored’ NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNbdUEqDB-k

    Verse and Music:

    John 11:25
    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

    Natalie Grant – Alive (Resurrection music video)
    Lyric “Death has lost and Love has won!”
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=KPYWPGNX

  3. 3
    Barb says:

    there are numerous blog posts and books by people I know using superheros to teach science at varying levels of plausibility.

    There is a terrific book by a professor entitled The Physics of Superheroes that I recommend. It teaches basic physics concepts as found in the pages of graphic novels and comics.

    And don’t get me started on the Metal Men’s “scientific fact or fancy” bits or “Flash facts.”

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Hans Zimmer Asked to Score ‘Batman vs. Superman’
    Excerpt: Batman vs. Superman won’t hit theaters until May 6th, 2016.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/mo.....n-20140416

    UH OH, Batman must have heard Superman was a Darwin doubter. 🙂

    ————-

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    https://vimeo.com/92172680

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