Scientific My Ass

The Atom A well known “scientific” company recently conducted a survey of its customers. The scientific company is “scientific” because its name includes the word “scientific.” The survey was not scientific at all.

Here’s the survey as it appeared on the scientific company’s web site:

Which fact about our moon do you find most surprising:

The “dark side of the moon” receives about as much sunlight as the side that faces us.

Literally tons of frozen ice water exists beneath the moon’s surface.

The coldest temperature in the universe was actually meassured on our moon (-415 degrees F)

Unlike those on Earth, all lunar mountains were basically all created in just a matter off seconds due to impact displacement from asteroids.

Before we begin our analysis, it’s worth repeating that this poll appeared on a scientific web site. The poll was lifted verbatim via a copy and paste utility so what you see above is exactly what site visitors were presented with, misspellings and grammatical errors included. Copying the poll wasn’t easy, either– as soon as you chose your answer, you were shown the results to-date, then the poll went away never to be seen again unless you cleared your cookies and came back to the site as a “new” visitor.

To begin with, it’s a very strange sort of survey that doesn’t poll your opinions or your knowledge, but asks instead which of the following “facts” you find most surprising! Any well-read citizen should be aware of all four “facts” and, accordingly, none of them should be “surprising.”

1. The “dark side of the moon” receives about as much sunlight as the side that faces us. The “dark side of the moon” is of course not dark at all. It is “dark” the way the “dark ages” were dark, in that it was unknown to us until we were able to send spacecraft around the moon, to photograph the side of the moon that is always facing away from us. One survey participant did comment that it must be surprising, or else why would we call it the “dark side.” But anyone who understands that the moon rotates on its axis once a month in order to keep the same side facing us, will realize that a day on the far side (much better term than dark side!) of the moon is about the same as a day on the near side.

2. Literally tons of frozen ice water exists beneath the moon’s surface. Literally tons?” They exists, does they? And what, pray tell, is “frozen ice water?” Is it ice? Is it frozen water? Or is it something new? Whatever, it isn’t very scientific, are it?

3. The coldest temperature in the universe was actually meassured on our moon (-415 degrees F). Hmm. One might be forgiven for thinking that if it was the “coldest temperature in the universe” then we must somehow have measured all of the temperatures in the universe. One hopes that we would have measured them with one “s” and not meassured them. That said, we voted for this one as the most surprising because is so obviously not a fact. It may be that it is the coldest temperature every “actually measured” by a man or a machine, but that’s not what they said.

4. Unlike those on Earth, all lunar mountains were basically all created in just a matter off seconds due to impact displacement from asteroids. That “fact” requires a bit of thinking, perhaps a matter “off seconds,”, but once you understand it, it is not surprising at all. A better way to put it would have been simply to say that “all of the mountains on the moon were created instantaneously by asteroid impacts, and almost all of the mountains on Earth were created by geological forces over very long periods of time.

So there was nothing surprising in the poll, except perhaps that there was nothing surprising in it. Or perhaps it was a bit surprising that a “scientific” company would publish something so unscientific.

–SG

What do you think? Please enter a comment below.

2 Responses to “Scientific My Ass”

  1. Branded Items Says:

    A lot of so called “scientific” company are sending such kind of bogus surveys these days. The sad thing is that, it contains a lot of false and inaccurate information.

  2. SG Says:

    On reflection this is hardly a surprise, hardly even a blip on the radar of serious cultural problems involving a general lack of honesty and tolerance for misrepresentation. Not only is there deliberate misrepresentation, it is apparently ok to name something the opposite of what it is. Look at cable TV. The Knowledge channel is now owned by someone with a somewhat different agenda, the History Channel shows way to much historical fiction, and Fox News is engaged in entertainment which is mistaken for news by its viewers. There are some behavioral limitations imposed on broadcast television by the FCC, which controls them through licensing, but even that minimal standards are declining, with the networks complaining that it isn’t fair to impose rules on them that don’t apply to the cable outlets. –SG

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