Wednesday, 26 November 2008

By association with the famous...

"The thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment asserted the fundamental importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority which could not be justified by reason. They held to an optimistic belief in the ability of man to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason."

How low can our politicians go to get credit when it's not due?

Mark Lazarowicz MP, has since 2006 indulged himself ad nauseaum, in a repeated attempt to self-aggrandise by association with James Clerk Maxwell and I am sick of it! This latest motion emphasises his inability to understand nature of scientific research eloquently characterised by the phrase "Pigmaei gigantum humeris impositi plusquam ipsi gigantes vident"* immortalised by Isaac Newton. His 2008 motion is also just a lazy MPs regurgitation of the same laughable assertions made in 2006.

This in particular riles me:
"his discovery of the nature of electromagnetic waves paving the way for radio, television, radar and the mobile telephone"
Mr Lazarowicz is dangerously close to implying that through James Clerk Maxwell's description and characterisation of electromagnetic phenomena he was directly responsible for the invention of the mobile phone, or was it that through his research in optics and that famous first colour photograph that he invented the camera phone? And why stop at radio, television, radar and mobile phones, surely we should credit him with everything that involves electromagnetic fields - and that really is pretty much everything.

There are many thousands of significant scientific steps of discovery, interpretation, understanding and engineering from the polymath Maxwell's ground breaking research to what we understand as modern electronics and communications technology. By extending this flawed understanding and lazy logic we would be equally correct to credit the understanding of all of the physical world, to Einstein, Faraday, Newton or Aristotle - but of course that would be silly as we would have to mention all those responsible for all of the incremental steps wouldn't we? And what of the rather important relationship between Engineering and Science, the subject of much debate in the scientific community. Lazy, lazy, publicity seeking Lazarowicz...

Mr Lazarowicz's inability or reluctance to understand the nature of the real significance of Maxwell's work and to express it in an accessible way speaks volumes...

What really gets me though is that Labour have presided over an unprecedented dumbing down of education and society that would have had the fathers of the Scottish Enlightenment indignant, outraged, spluttering and reaching for their quills to blog...

As Francis Bacon put it - "Science is but an image of the truth"

Politics on the other hand...

* Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants

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