I need a new word. This is something that’s been bugging me for a long while now. I need a word that means something like “a believer in the importance and efficacy of science.” Normally you can throw the suffix “-ist” on the end of a word, like “humanist,” “jihadist” or “pacifist,” but I try to do that here, I end up with “scientist,” which means something else, or “sciencist,” which sounds horrible.
I’ve wondered about this for a while now, but mores in the past few days as people have been piling on Neal deGrasse Tyson for his, um, let’s call them ethical lapses. Like falsely attributing the million dollar space pen to NASA, or egregiously misquoting George W. Bush to make him look dumb (you need to misquote him to do that?), or just flat-out making crap up.
It seems to me that Neal deGrasse Tyson is a scientist…. But that doesn’t appear to be his current day job. His current job, near as I can tell, is carnival barker. He’s a salesman, or an advertiser. That’s not science. Inspiring others to want to learn more may be laudable, but it’s not science. Making crap up isn’t science, either, but I’ll let the serial stalkers at the Federalist worry about that.
Ace has an idea that he expressed today: “I have a theory. Call it the HuffPo Rule. If your “Science” gets linked by HuffPo, then it’s not science, because HuffPo readers are not scientists and are not interested in science. If they take self-congratulatory delight in it, it can’t be science.”