Friday, September 18, 2009

What's really scary is the state of modern science. (The Best Actual Horror Movie Monsters, 3)

I will eventually get around to the horror movie monster, but I'm first going to discuss the fact that scientists have started to pay attention to me, a little, although, sadly, they did not pay attention to the part where I suggested they stop lying about things and making stuff up, leaving "science" still somewhat less trustworthy than "my 4-year-old nephew."

Here's what I'm talking about: Back in February, I took "science" to task for constantly lying about dinosaurs they found, making up new and exotic dinosaurs in an effort to seem cool and exciting.

I said:

Why invent a new obviously-fake dinosaur when the bones you found are from a perfectly good, perfectly entertaining already-known dinosaur? Doing that just undermines people's regard for science and continues the trend towards having the "truth" be whatever people believe it to be.

Then I suggested that instead of always inventing new "Raptors" and things that obviously never existed, scientists should focus on (a) telling the truth, and (b) Tyrannosaurus Rex, which was not only a great dinosaur, in its time, but also a better choice for the 12th Cylon than the character the Battlestar writers ultimately came up with.

That's what brings us up to today, when I have finally verified the "scientists" (a) read this blog, but (b) don't really get the point. Here's the headline that set my teeth a'grinding this morning,

Fossil identified as mini-T. rex

If you read that article, you'll find that scientists found a small skeleton that physically looks like a T. Rex skeleton, except that it is much smaller than a T.Rex skeleton. Otherwise, it's identical to a T.Rex skeleton.

Most people, when confronted with a skeleton that is identical to another, larger skeleton would say "Oh, the smaller skeleton must be a baby." But most people are not "scientists," who remain unconfined by logic, reason, or the truth.

"Scientists" are free to say "This skeleton, identical to that other skeleton but much smaller, is obviously an entirely different species from that other skeleton," and then "scientists" are free to go on "So you should definitely pay attention to me and allow me to name the skeleton, and also give me money and put me on TV. But not the Jay Leno show, because that's like two weeks from being cancelled."

See, if you discover a baby T.Rex, that's worth approximately (to quote Berke Breathed) "diddly/squat." But if you discover a brand new species of Miniature T.Rex, you get to have your rich patron donate the skeleton to "science," and you get to name it, and you get to apply for grants, and you get famous.

And isn't fame what science is all about? Remember the song: I'm gonna live forever/I'm gonna learn how to lie.

Or something like that.

Now, I can't say for sure whether or not "Mini T.Rex" really is a different species (note: It's not, and I'm sure.) But I can say for sure that the "science" is dubious. Listen to the provenance of Mini T. Rex, as described by the "scientist" who made the "discovery:"

"The specimen was found perhaps in the dark of night, spirited out of China and possibly sold."

Well, you've got me! "Perhaps?" "Possibly?" Those are certainly hallmarks of science. I could go on about this, including the fact that appparently nobody carbon-dated the bones at all, but instead they just looked at the sediment in which the bones were encased (concluding that there's no way to fake a clump of mud) but I think the point stands: "Science" is now firmly rooted in the glorious tradition of "Let's just make up whatever sounds good, especially if we can release the news on a Friday of a slow news cycle."

Anyway, about the movie monsters: The Chattering Cenobite from Hellraiser.

Everyone goes all nuts over Pinhead, but what's so scary about him? He's just a guy. A guy with pins all over his face, yeah, but just a guy, anyway. And that fat Cenobite? I'm not scared of a fat monster, not even one that can move through dimensions using a generic Rubik's Cube. (That's why you always buy the original.)

But Chattering Cenobite? Hellraiser is one of the few movies that scares me each and every time I watch it, and a big reason is Chattering Cenobite, who doesn't talk logically, can't be reasoned with, and wouldn't get distracted from chasing you if you threw a couple of Snickers bars off to the side. No, Chattering Cenobite just keeps on wanting to chew. And he looks like he's half inside-out shark and half man. An inside-out SharkMan with a taste for human flesh who's come from Hell to grab you. That's creepy.

And, also, one will probably be "discovered" by "scientists" next week.

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