Science in the shower

In kindly awarding me the prestigious Pointy Stick Award For Practicing Ludditry With A Computer, committed sciencist (and, apparently, fellow scientist), PST makes some unusual claims:

In his outpouring of blogorrhea, Day tries to apportion good things to “technology” and bad things to “science”, and does nothing so much as illustrate his inability to understand what either is, or how they are related.

First, Day thinks that science and technology are inherently modern — he pegs science as 200 years old. They’ve been with us for millenia. While the rate of change has grown over time, and will continue to grow, did not Archimedes do science when he took a bath on that storied day? And what separates the neolithic from the bronze age from the iron age? Could it be, oh I don’t know, could it be something called TECHNOLOGY?! Vox Putz is more like it.

Correction: I do not think that technology is modern nor did I write anything even remotely resembling that in my recent column. Only someone who believes science = technology could possibly conclude that I have ever said or even implied anything of the sort.

And while I had an excellent idea in the shower the other day; I had no idea that I was simultaneously science. It seems I’m not only a scientist, I am a downright natural! Perhaps we should add a another definition to Pharyngula’s three: “4. Performing water-based ablutions”.

Confusion on the part of scientists and some dictionaries notwithstanding, technology is not science and science is not technology. They are related, to be sure, but then, so are humanity and science. If we apply PST’s reckoning, without humanity there would be no science, so therefore science is humanity and we are all scientists.

I’d always thought philosophy classes were a joke, but now I’m beginning to wonder if scientists and engineers should be strongly encouraged to take a course or two in basic logic.

As for the origins of science, the most widely accepted assertion is that it began with Galileo around 1600. But if it began then, it did not become a significant factor until the Industrial Revolution and the widespread use of firearms, around 1800. Now, there is no doubt my choice of words could have been more precise, but to claim that I am wildly off base or that science goes back to Archimedes, much less the Neolithic, is not only bizarre, but directly contrary to every creditable source that I have ever encountered.

The irony, of course, is that there is no shortage of empirical evidence suggesting that scientists take rather fewer baths and showers than the average individual.