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Senior Moments – for week of March 24

Spencer3-300x2001SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – It’s been a long time since I was in elementary and high school but the things that I learned in Math, Language, and Science classes are as true and correct today as they were over 60 years ago.

Euclidean Geometry or the Pythagorean Theorem haven’t altered and are still taught in classrooms around the world. The words and rules of grammar in languages such as English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Russian, or Japanese, haven’t changed though new words have been added over time for communication to be updated and remain current with any new inventions and discoveries. Newton’s Laws of Motion and the Periodic Table of Elements haven’t been found to be incorrect, though new elements have been discovered and included. Similarly, historic events that I learned about haven’t been modified except where new underlying causes may have been unearthed. The Pyramids were built, the Crusades happened, Magellan circumnavigated the Earth, the Civil War occurred and slavery was abolished.

The reason that these subjects deserve to be taught is simple… each discipline contains exact information. However, what I’ve come to realize as time passed is that other fields of study such as Sociology and Psychology are anything but precise since theories of human behavior have been proven wrong time and again. In the 1960s, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s notions about child rearing were used and taken as gospel by generations of parents only to be found faulty, so much so that Spock actually apologized years later for screwing up the lives of so many children. Psychiatrists’ offices are crammed with support groups trying to make sense of and cope with the complex world in which we live.

Now the suffix “ology” means the study of a particular subject, (inferring a scientific inquiry) such as biology, cardiology, paleontology, urology, and zoology. The scientific method is applied, gathering precise information, formulating a hypothesis, and arriving at a conclusion based strictly upon the facts at hand while ignoring any pre-conceived notions. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, but I contend that Sociology, Psychology, and even Meteorology for that matter, are no more scientific than astrology, phrenology, or ufology, merely pseudo-sciences that should therefore have a different ending to indicate their status of questionability.

Since they’re all in the realm of opinion rather than fact and lacking in hard evidence, I suggest the suffix “opiny” be used instead, referring to these dubious “sciences” as sociopiny, psychopiny, meteoropiny, astropiny, phrenopiny, and ufopiny. It makes perfect sense as a warning to everyone that the information presented is questionable, and would immediately label each as a study to be taken with a grain of salt.


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