397: Unscientific

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 07:00, 18 May 2014 by MrGameZone (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Unscientific
Last week, we busted the myth that electroweak gauge symmetry is broken by the Higgs mechanism. We'll also examine the existence of God and whether true love exists.
Title text: Last week, we busted the myth that electroweak gauge symmetry is broken by the Higgs mechanism. We'll also examine the existence of God and whether true love exists.

[edit] Explanation

In the first and second frames, Megan can be seen accusing MythBusters of not actually "doing science" because of its lack of rigor - a debate beyond the scope of this Wiki. The zombie of deceased physicist, Richard Feynman, comes to explain to Megan that she has failed to recognize the purpose of MythBusters. He explains that MythBusters is only meant to get people to accept and understand the basics of science, and that more complex lessons (such as on rigor) would be wasted on people who don't understand those basics.

In the last frame, Cueball attempts to save himself and Megan from zombie Feynman by implying that physicists, being extremely intelligent, would have more desirable brains. Also, being a lab, the number of brains available would be higher than just two. Feynman's closing remark implies that string theorists are less intelligent than other types of physicists. This notion fits appropriately with Feynman's description of the core of science. Moreover, Feynman's own career involved applying physics to real world applications (such as for the Manhattan Project), whereas the work of string theorists is theoretical and untested.

It is also a pun on M-theory (also called Brane theory), a part of string theory, which some argue is impossible to test scientifically.

The title text starts by rebounding against the complaint of validity as science by purportedly tackling a really big scientific enquiry. Then veers away into two far more esoteric proposed fields of study, of which at least one is not even determinable by the scientific method.

[edit] Transcript

[Cueball and Megan are sitting on a coach, watching Mythbusters.]
TV: Can a ninja catch an arrow? On this episode, we'll find out!
Cueball: Mmm, science.
Megan: Hey, Mythbusters is entertaining, but it's not science.
Zombie Feynman: BRAAAAAIIINNS...
Cueball: Zombie Feynman!
Zombie Feynman: You got a problem with Mythbusters?
Megan: They fail at basic rigor!
Zombie Feynman: "Ideas are tested by experiment." That is the core of science. Everything else is bookkeeping.
Zombie Feynman: By teaching people to hold their beliefs up to experiment, Mythbusters is doing more to drag humanity out of the unscientific darkness than a thousand lessons in rigor. Show them some love.
Zombie Feynman: Anyway, back to zombie stuff. I hunger for BRAAAAAIIINNS!
Cueball: Uh, try the physics lab next door.
Zombie Feynman: I said brains. All they've got are string theorists.
comment.png add a comment!

Discussion

Just appeneded a paragraph about the title-text. Also tried to word something about it starting off as refering to something from last week, then phased into next week, which is almost certainly a joke on the reversibility of time's arrow within the context of the first item mentioned, but could not get it pithy enough. Over to you to have a go (unless it's a genuine mistake in the first place). 178.98.31.27 13:16, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

As a slight inner joke, I just noticed that it seems quite natural that a zombie Feymann worries about a lack of rigor less than when he was alive... --146.48.82.79 18:10, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Should it perhaps be noted that Feynman was a known philanderer, and would therefore be interested in Megan's other body parts as well, not just her brains? 81.17.27.234 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools

It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?