June 09, 2007

The Last Post - Alchemy Facts are Useful

Don't take me too seriously on either of those statements. I'm thinking of trying to move the science-part of Kickin' Moron Ass over to NatureNetwork - which will also include some of my actual in lab exploits (my supervisor is finally getting a move on inductions and having a meeting about risk assessments, I have to write up a supply list too).

Some of the less serious aspects of KMA would be moved to a more link-list style weblog, like my first blogging idol, Lindsay's Bificurated Rivets, which will probably be interspersed with youtube vids too. That will probably be Better than a Knife in the Eye (with a new brand image).

While I'm fond of the good old Kickin' Moron Ass (since 2002) tag, I don't know if it's appropriate for Nature, so any suggestions for a biomedical wannabe mad molecular biologist with allusions of grandeur.

Anyway, this last post needs better content, so following on from some discussion in comments over at Pharyngula - The Scientist kindly dropped this slideshow in my inbox:
"Before there was chemistry there was alchemy. So before there was art about chemistry, there was art about alchemy. For previous generations of chemists, so much of how things work was a mystery, so artwork that featured animals, astronomical objects, and other aspects of nature contained significant symbolic meaning. As time went on, of course, modern experimental methods turned people away from mysticism, and alchemy became a piece of the past."
I haven't looked at it all yet, but I get really miffed when people just reject something like alchemy or astrology as outrightly wrong and as if they weren't valid forms of natural observation in their time. Like I said in the comments, what distinguishes something as anti-science is dogma - in their day most alchemists weren't stuck in absolute dogma, and were active experimenters and debaters. Small amounts of dogma existed, but the great thing about modern science is that dogma is gradually being replaced with total paradigms (paradigms are facts that are accepted as acceptable, but can be moved or shattered if something better comes along through further observation and rationality).

I love paradigms. The phrase is already overused in my thesis.

Well, it's been a fun ride kids. Thanks for the memories...


At Wed. Jun. 20, 02:41:00 am AEST, Blogger jeff said...

While they may have been useful then, they aren't useful now. not sure about alchemy, but the only usefulness Astrology COULD have had was in observing the planets. any other crap regarding how the movemensts of those planets affects one's everyday life are just total garbage and don't deserve scientific scrutiny any more than they already have. If some astrologer has some amazing evidence, I'm sure James Randi will help him/her/it out.

At this point in time, however, these two subjects are merely curious historical artifacts.

At Fri. Apr. 11, 08:02:00 pm AEST, Anonymous Garden Games said...

A lot of people actually misunderstand what alchemy was and it place, yes it was the fore runner to modern science and especially chemistry and astronomy but it was also the study of understanding the changes of things through energy, the goal was not gold or silver but the key to life itself, this was an alchemists target, they tried to understand the world of man, myth and magic in the way they knew how.


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