When Steorn announced the public demo of their perpetual motion engine (call it anyway you like, it all sums up to this), I was really curious: why on earth should they want to expose their false claim? Perhaps they found a clever trick, good enough to survive a quick inspection?
After a week and a pathetic excuse (the heat coming from lights created technical difficulties) there is no due date for another demo, and I consequently believe it was simply a desperate measure to revive the attention on their claim.
Did I say desperate? Maybe I’m wrong: considering the growing trend in diminishing science’s credibility and constantly questioning its authority, embodied by the scary creationist/intelligent design/antiscientific bandwagon, this story makes me uneasy. It all looks like an experiment, but its objective has nothing to do with energy or magnetism. On the contrary, I believe the focus is on communication. Blogs are a great medium, but they can be great even in spreading stupid ideas: how strong is the blogosphere’s immune system against patent falsehood? How clear is the line between cynical amusement for ignorance and toleration for lies?
These questions are important for those who believe in open, fair communication as well as for those who consider social media as just another medium suitable for manipulation. This post is full of harsh words: ignorance, falsehood, lies… and I know they may make me seem intolerant, but they represent my strong feelings about the issue. Truth and the scientific method are things which we – as a society – should not mess up.