About twenty-five years ago, I recall a sudden surge in the use of the word “pedantic”. It was as if half the people I knew were all secretly using the same vocabulary builder system on nights and weekends. Interestingly, and more than a little bit humorously, simply using the word “pedantic” has the effect of making the one speaking it appear pedantic. Really. Look it up.
Entertaining you with examples of vocabulary backfires was not my pupose in sharing that recollection. Rather, it was to serve as an example of something I’ve sure you’ve seen yourself: the use of a word in a particular situation for the purpose of elevating the speaker and reducing their audience.
If pedantic’s appearance out of nowhere all those years ago was best described as a “surge”, then the rise of “science” over the past few years is nothing short of a “tsunami”.
The mere fact that you are reading this blog means that you have probably been the target of a “science” or two yourself.
You know the drill:
You: “I agree the world is getting warmer, in fact, I have no choice but to believe it. The numbers show it. I just don’t know that it can be demonstrated with certainty that human beings are the cause.”
Them: “Hey, denier! Have you ever heard of…SCIENCE!?”
Ah yes…the “S-word”. The word that cuts short all discussion; the magical incantation that renders its utterers geniuses at least in their own eyes. The word that means “them: intellectual, you: voodoo man”.
At no time will this word be hurled at you more than during any discussion in which “God” enters the conversation. Of course what those hurling the insults never comprehend is the Christian who says “what makes you think I am dismissive of science?”