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 Which Science is Best?

Status: Submitted 20000130
Approved for Review 20000209

%t Academic Turf Wars
%n 8R ready for review
%s And You Thought That Scientists Were Rational
%a Alex Gough  (
%d 20000127
%x Arguments, Infinitely Prolonging
%x Code Of The Geeks
%x Westerbork Array, Westerbork, Drenthe,
   Netherlands, Earth
%x Winning Arguments
%x Sun, The
%x Rationalization
%x X-Rated GIF Site, Astronomers Find
%x Weird Units Of Measure
%k Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Biology
%k Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy

Scientists are usually highly rational people -- it is after all their job to be as rational as they possibly can -- but if you ever ask one what the best type of science is they will quickly descend into puerile name-calling. If you are unlucky or foolish enough to pose the question in a university canteen sometime around lunchtime the following debate usually rages around the room.

Mathematicians claim that they rule the roost as everyone else has to use the equations that they discover and because maths is true no matter what reality chooses to do.

Psychologists claim that they are the best because mathematicians think using their brains and couldn't conceive of anything that the brain didn't allow for. Psychologists are also able to hear your problems and charge a great deal of money for being sympathetic.

Biologists get jealous of the fees that psychologists charge and claim that they are the best because all psychologists are purely made up of cells, sit on couches made of dead animals and get paid in bank notes derived from dead trees. Biologists are also able to go on field trips to the Arctic or the Amazon so as to discover new things and name them after themselves.

Chemists then get jealous of the biologists as they are forced to live in small labs, with only the smallest windows. They maintain that because cells are made of chemicals, they should be the most revered science in the world. Chemists also get the chance to spend their days inhaling home-made laughing gas and using bunsen burners, which for them more than makes up for the lack of foreign field trips.

Astronomers envy the chemists' warm laboratories as they are forced to sit in dark, cold observatories on frosty nights while everyone else is in bed asleep. Astronomers claim precedence over the chemists because at least their subject covers the entire universe and the beginning of time itself, not to mention that life could not exist without heat from the sun. Astronomers also like what they do because they get to go to nice foreign places like Hawaii [1].

Physicists dislike the astronomers because they have to spend their time living in basements or two miles underground whilst tending their latest highly expensive machines for unraveling the secrets of the universe and don't even get a chance to see the sky. As far as they can see it, the universe is made up of the fundamental particles which physicists can't help going on about. Physicists claim that they are the Top Science because then they will get more of the research funding they need to build their clever particle accelerators and fusion reactors.

Of course Mathematicians, having recently returned to the debate after a short coffee and integration break, realize that the physicists can only understand [2] the world of very small things by using the maths that they had thought of. At this point a bun fight usually breaks out and the canteen staff are forced to call security.

[1] In an attempt to make people believe their work is more glamourous than it actually is, astronomers rarely mention the fact that they have to spend most of their time there up mountains with thin air and almost no daylight.
[2] If understanding is the right way to describe something so small no one will ever have the chance of seeing them.

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 ^Back to Top^ | ©Alex Gough Mon Mar 14 2005 ...more than you might imagine.