söndag 21 mars 2010

What Is So Funny, about Einstein, and Science?

My Knol Science and Scientists in Cartoons has now received 50.000 views. My idea is to
illustrate truths about science and scientists by studying how science and scientists are
depicted in cartoons. It is based on a "theory" that says that what makes a cartoon funny is that it tells a truth, which is so non-conventional that without a joke it would only be bad taste to say it.

A key example concerns Einstein, who in cartoons generally is described as stupid, unhappy and lonely, which is supposed to be funny, in particular by the cartoonists making the cartoons.

Is this then the truth about Einstein? What is the opinion of the cartoonist? Stupid or clever? I have recently been in contact with one cartoonist who did not like the theory of the Knol, (and also claimed that I violated copy-right by presenting a cartoon of his in support of the theory).

The cartoonist was upset because I had misinterpreted his cartoon as indicating that Einstein
was stupid, when in fact the idea of the cartoon was the opposite. So the cartoonist made a cartoon which was ambigious as concerns stupidity-cleverness, which was what made it funny,
but it was based on a belief of the cartoonist that Einstein was very clever, not stupid. When I
interpreted the cartoon as indicating that Einstein was stupid, then the cartoonist got upset.
Funny, isn't it?

Is this then a counter-example to the theory that says that a carton tells a truth, in this case that Einstein was stupid?

Not necessarily, because the theory also says that the cartoonist acts as a sensor to subtle vibrations floating around, a sensor to true vibrations. The theory thus says that a cartoon tells a truth, irrespective if the cartoonist is convinced about the truth or not.

Is this a correct theory? Was Einstein stupid, unhappy and lonely, or the opposite?

This is an important question in the aftermath of climategate: Is science a joke? What science?Are scientists stupid? Which scientists? If Einstein in fact was stupid, who can we believe in?

The answers do not seem to be so clear...

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