Saturday, April 07, 2007

Outside the Norm

The woman snorts at you. "I know what happened to me. The doctor was wrong. Are you saying that my experiences aren't a good indicator of what happens in reality? Isn't that the entire basis of science?"

"Not always," you reply. "Science recognizes that individual observations can be off, and compensates for this by making many many measurements. Once something is confirmed over and over again we can be pretty certain it's right, though never entirely certain - there's always the possibility our method of observation was flawed, or we just got a really rare set of data. Nevertheless, it's the best method we have, and it's led to immense progress..."

"Oh give it up already!" you're interrupted by a voice from behind you. "Science is nothing more than another system of belief."

"Science isn't a belief system," you explain. "It's a method of obtaining knowledge, not a set of knowledge which we already believe with no doubt." As you turn around to approach the newcomer, you face a visage you've seen highlighted in the media all too often: Scientology's unofficial celebrity spokesman, Tom Cruise.

"Now you're just playing word games," he says. "It's not like it matters anyways; you're already too late to stop us."


"Never you mind; I've got work to do," Cruise says as he turns and walks off.

"Um, excuse me?" The lady you'd been talking to says. "What was all of that about?"

"I'm not entirely sure," you reply. "But I think I have an idea who might be behind this..."

Return to report your suspicions.

Head on to a different media outlet.

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