Are Gravitational Waves Red Herrings?

Pseudoscientists have been markedly emboldened in the past few decades. While in the past they timidly acknowledged science at the same time that they exploited its limitations to their own benefit, they are now brazenly attacking science … and they have found their popular media outlet through which to do it (see here and here for just two examples).

There is a good reason for this popularity of irrationality. The media are fond of selling information that is sensational, easy to absorb, and out-of-this-worldly. While it takes the momentous discovery of gravitational waves (GWs) to make it to the headlines, crackpots routinely appear on popular TV shows. And the fact that many scientists are joining the anti-science crowd is not helping the situation either.

We have now reached the point where top-tiered institutions of higher learning like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford have academic programs devoted to alternative medicine and “research” in telekinesis, Reiki, Qi, homeopathy, touch therapy, and a host of other ideas proven to be scientifically baseless, technically useless, and occasionally dangerous. Furthermore, reputable publishers publish journals whose editors are pseudoscientists, and for which pseudoscientists “peer review” articles by other pseudoscientists.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Deepak Chopra and two other pseudoscientists label one of the two most important discoveries of the twenty-first century (the other being the discovery of the Higgs boson) “red herring.” They claim that “gravitational waves …  serve as a distraction from the unsolved mysteries that could actually shift the paradigm regarding how we see reality.” So over a thousand scientists spent close to a billion dollars and over twenty years of their lives to distract the public “from the unsolved mysteries” of science?

There is no period in the history of science in which mysteries were absent.

In fact, it is precisely the unsolved mysteries that drive science! And no one, not even pseudoscientists like Chopra, shouts about these mysteries louder than scientists themselves. The difference between the two groups is that scientists continue to push the new boundaries of the unknown even further, while pseudoscientists like Chopra and his collaborators on the Huffington Post article preach to the public to abandon science because of its present “unsolved mysteries.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *