Friday, June 17, 2016

More fun with people who "love" science

"How many Joule in a kilowatt-hour?"

This is not a trick question. It's a trivially simple question, that requires a middle-school undestanding of science. Yet, someone whom I'll call Igor (for Ignorant Grandstanding Oblivious Rabble-rouser):

a) Had no idea what I was talking about;

b) Didn't think there was any relation between my question and Igor's topic of "energy";

c) Didn't realize that Igor's ignorance of basic units of energy undermined Igor's credibility as a source of information on "energy"; and

d) Wasn't deterred from continuing a long Jeremiad about the "good" types of "energy" and the "bad" types of energy.

(One Watt equals one Joule per second, so one kWh is 3.6 million Joule. I knew this before I was 10, since I was a science geek even then, but it's taught in middle school where I come from.)

Having worked in education for a while (on and off), I've seen many cases where people don't learn, forget what they learned, and forget that there's something to be learned. But Igor is different.

Igor thinks that learning is unnecessary, because Igor already knows. Igor knows because... well, because all Igor's life, Igor was never contradicted as long as Igor's words fit the prevailing narrative. Igor's self-esteem ballooned like a spinaker in strong wind, and never deflated. Igor's education avoided science, where Igor might occasionally be wrong, so Igor never learned the most important lesson:

Reality always wins in the end.