Science is  discovery. Science is the quest for understanding. Science is also a way to think about writing novels.

I read a fascinating article from the Scientific American blogs today. Not only was it informative and thoughtful, it also provoked thoughts of writing.

I am often disheartened by the Rules of Writing. Do this. Do that. Here’s a check list for Character Development. Follow it for Instant Success. Here’s another checklist for Plot. And one for Structure.

And oh, by the way, here’s ten tips to make you an incredibly successful self-promoter. (I obviously don’t follow those!)

The point is, writing does have rules. A rule. But it is quite simple. Write well.

Subset: learn grammar. Learn punctuation. Learn to read your own writing analytically so you can eliminate all the unnecessary words and tangents that bog down the story.

Now that is hard. Check lists are much easier. Ergo, people like them.

This article discusses the origins of life, the adaptation of bacteria to a new food source, the consistent relationships between size and actions in cities and animals, and reminds us to get off the internet!

How does all this relate to writing?

Well, /  I’ve discussed it here, /  just one click  (internet, ah irony!) away.

I’ve been speculating on denialism as one attribute that is distinctly human. Learn to deny mortality so you can live. From that, you learn that denying anything you dislike or don’t want to admit will allow you to live as if that weren’t reality.

We live in unreality most of the time, I think. Remembering the past, anticipating the future, denying what we don’t like, emphasizing what we do. Not much mental space left for reality to fill.

This video / takes these speculations back a step. What is language? Why did we develop this tool? What benefits did it offer, and what harm can it cause?

I was intrigued by the chart at 12:16 showing the geographic spread of Homo sapiens after language arose. Looks like social learning added to linguistic exchange really did enable us to spread out and survive in myriad environments.

At 15:13 he shows a map of Facebook connections. Not a world map, just electronic friends. And those connections recreate the geographic map.

I agree that having one language for international communication is beneficial, perhaps essential for further development. But which one? Will we rationally choose the language that offers the most flexibility, adaptability, as well as ease of learning and of writing? Or will wars or economic conquest make the determination?

History shows… well, yes, but in my unreality, I keep hoping that reasonable thinking will come to the fore.

We have wealth, but apparently, no education. Or just no sense.

Whichever, we prefer beliefs in comfy-cozy for “our kind” and persecution-torment for those who won’t fall for illusions.

What a lovely state of affairs.

I’m always perplexed at the arrogance of the creationists. Based solely on their beliefs, they insist biblical creation must be taught. But if we allow one belief, we must, in pure, simple honesty, allow all. And because there are so many. many ideas of what religion is, the creation, and holiday celebrations in schools would be non stop.

Actually, creationists should like that. It would ensure everyone is totally ignorant, as there’d be no time to teach anything.

Of course, their leaders would still get educated – at least in the ways to manipulate people. But who would make the tools, cure the sick, build houses? All these are products of science, and science would be outlawed.

Oh wait – only some science is outlawed. I keep forgetting – this is willful, manipulative, group-controlling, cherry-picking: not a consistent religious belief.

Religion I can deal with. Using people as tools – no. And that is what the so-called creationists, and tea-partyists are doing. De-humanizing their followers for power. Not good.

Can we all say ‘evil’?

This is a wonderful – not quite spoof.

It makes the point so clearly. If science cannot be taught, then where do you draw the line?

There are beliefs, and there are facts. Why is this so hard for people to separate?

See also:  “Bad Reasoning About Reasoning”

This video presents an entertaining perspective on evolution, disguised as the quest for a 6th grader’s dream: a pet dinosaur.

I’m linking to it through the post by Punctuated Equilibrium as well,  as I thought her comments were helpful to read before watching.

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