701: Science Valentine
Title text: You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right.
Cueball is taking a scientific approach to creating a valentine card. Based on the first chart, the recipient may be his fiancée or spouse. However, his rigorous approach makes him realize that the happiness he derives from the relationship is declining, which presents him with a choice. Will he be a true scientist by accepting data that he doesn't like, or will he be romantic and just make a cute card? He decides that he is a scientist and so presents his significant other with a breakup valentine. The card has a heart on it crossed by a graph with a negative trend, forming the stereotypical torn heart and showing the decline of his feelings. The comic may be intended as a cautionary tale to new scientists; while the graph in the leftmost panel shows an apparent correlation between Cueball's love and his happiness, and it shows his happiness is lower than it might be expected to be without his partner, it fails to show that the falling love effects falling happiness-- it may be the case that falling happiness effects falling love, or that both happiness and love are affected by an unidentified factor. For example, temporary external crises may be weighing on Cueball's relationship as well as his happiness.
The title text seems to be him trying to console himself that he did the right thing.
- I wanted to make you a science valentine
- with charts and graphs of my feelings for you.
- [A graph shows romance and happiness. Romance cuts off, indicating a breakup before the meeting of Cueball and his current significant other, and happiness dips accordingly.
- A line indicates where the couple first met; romance is jagged thereafter, initially upwards but later down.
- Happiness climbs slightly more steadily and then dips again.
- More lines indicate a period of dating and then one of engagement.]
- and the happiness you've brought me.
- But the more I analyzed
- [Cueball works at a computer.]
- r0 = 0.20
- r1 = -0.61
- r2 = -0.83
- the harder it became to defend my hypothesis.
- In science, you can't publish results you know are wrong
- and you can't withhold them because they're not the ones you wanted.
- So I was left with a question: do I make graphs because they're cute and funny,
- [Cueball sits, looking at a sheet of paper.]
- or am I a scientist?
- Enclosed are my results.
- I hope you can find somebody else
- [A jagged, declining graph is superimposed over a red heart.]
- to be your valentine.