Wednesday, 4 March 2015

SCIENCE AND RELIGION of MTB (and of other irrelevant things)

I have a deep trouble with Science, or rather by the use of this word by an average asshole on the internet. I guess mainly because I consider myself to be a very reasonable man, obsessed on being aware of how can my psyche influence and eventually jeopardize the best planned actions and lead to misuse of the most sensible inventions, in a way I am tyring to be aware in which reality my mind is at a particular moment. This sour bit about Science has been sitting inside of me since a few years and I finaly found a trigger to let out.

Lately Aaron Gwin said in an interview that he thanks God for his house in California, a statement which I personally could not have a tiniest problem with, as his belief is absolutely harmless to anyone including his closest neighbors. Unfortunately a lot of people started behaving as if he was about to behead a rival down hill racer and record it on a GoPro, stone a homosexual to death or build an ark and trap many innocent animals in it, including endangered species - so dangerous can Catholic religion in USA be! They started behaving so because vast majority of population, for various reasons, have unresolved issue with their spirituality, morality and existential issues and as soon as something close to that topic arises, complexes release tons of energy and trap them in anxiety. That is natural off course, we all develop, but I think human kind has progressed so far, knowledge is so available thanks to internet, that we should do better. Basically, the latest best way to think better about yourself is to become a pseudo atheist and laugh at religion, because they believe in talking, burning bush and you follow "I fucking love science" Facebook group.

Unfortunately I see most people using the word Science in exactly same way as a poor preacher uses "God" -  a joker card to fill any hole in any argument, a vague booster of credibility of whatever whoever says, a weapon to shut someone up, having one thing at it's core: a bluff - exploitation of the obvious fact that very few of us have something to do with actual science, just like in the past, very few had much to do with religion and open minded thinking about ones own spirituality. In popular media, bike sites included, "It's Science" is an expression used to make someone feel stupid, to put him/her into submission. Idea of "God" was misused for centuries by religions as a generalization of a set of extremely complex existential issues, these days we get "Science" which in most cases is referred to as some kind genuinely super intelligent entity possessing answers to everything in the universe, it is just we limited humans that have not yet been able to find the answers. Pop culture turns scientists and engineers into archetypal figures, true masters of science and technology, having knowledge greater than any average human being, who lead humanity into better tomorrow, in exactly same freaking manner religious people percieve priests - super humans. Science is not the only non-religious yet magical entity people believe they see and recieve grace from - there is technology that I just mentioned, we also like to talk about economy: this and that is good for economy. What is economy? What does she look like? Does she have an Ashtram I can go to? Wallstreet new York, USA or ATM downstairs?

Spiritual people get in terms with their spirituality when they manage to put God on their level, when they truly honestly take It in, when they realize what God is for them uniquely, when they take away the glorious omnipotence and noise of images religion has put on It - they may never ever find It's nature but it is an ultimate metaphore for simpliest of things in every day life. If one can't find God in Sunset as well as in turd in the toilet, he/she is still on the fundamental search. So it is with science, as much as you can appreciate someone who can calculate how to send a probe to Saturn using several other planets to accelerate it, you should also be able to find science in Myth Busters, because science is about some dude or woman doing some experiment - you have a theory and you test it, then you write results down in according manner and make someone else test it to replicate your results. That has as much to do with Higgs Bozon as with riding your fork with or without dust seals. I am terribly sorry but all in all we are all parts of a huge machine and being a scientist is a job like any other, sorry Professor Richard Dawkins, I need someone to pick up my garbage more than your Research and you also need someone to take care of your garbage, prescribe you a pill, poor you a beer or fix your roof. We all need each other.

Bigger wheels are faster - take a first book on science - I love this sentence... no I don't... I find it an epitome of a modern imbecile, someone so stupid, he cannot see how stupid he is, as he misses fundamental cognition skills to be able to recognize his mental deficiency. But let's play your scientismic game: Which book on which science should I read? Do you mean: Physics? Chemistry? History? Spanish Philology? Anthropology - I'll find your mom there, intelligence of early humans that is, you Professor Higgs-wannabe. So which science are you talking about, please tell me... big wheels are faster cuz they roll over better, yes sure, they keep momentum better, how about bigger mass on bigger diameter and that thing called acceleration? Are we taking a part of the book out of context? - Same approach didn't work out for homosexuals and Bible, isn't it? Stone them written in one place, Love thy brethren, some pages later - didn't you share some memes about it? You hipocrite? 

Now let's talk bikes shall we? I am bloody sick of "scientific" aura around some specimens in bike industry, some companies are particularly good about it, like Syntace or Giant with their theoretically informative graphs full of pseudo science and plot holes. One could get an impression that bike designers and bike component designers walk around their sterile labs in white doctor's gowns, cooperating closely with Harvard and NSA, applying laws of physics, making calculations, testing carbon rims in hadron collider. Well let me destroy it for some people. There is a lot of complicated science included in making of a bike, but it doesn't really happen in Santa Cruz R&D department which is a fucking shed by the way. There is geology involved in extraction of raw materials, chemistry involved in making them into alloy for handlebars and stem, nano science involved in making of carbon fibers, chemistry for resin to bond them. Then there are other people making all components for a computer that is used to design a bike on. All sorts of scientists work on tyres, but not really on tyre patterns. Then there can be some smart heads who can give Syntace engineers numbers on extremes of forces tha may be acting on bike while it rides on roughest tracks and takes hardest hits. So the best the almighty, incredibly intelligent bike engineers (at least most of them) have to do with science is they take a second hand gym set, turn it into  destructive test rig and take several samples of the stuff they just made, feed them into that contraption and try to break it. They can draw some frame with certain geometry and give it for trashing to some single guy who has not much better to do to contribute for development of human race than stoke some bike nerds out. Too bad the process of product design is not only about engineering, making something ride well and be not break and be produced in large quantities. It involves briefing, market targeting, making deals for component choice, accounting, and many more issues.

Then let me ruin it further, there is very little research in bike industry because who on earth would fund such research? It's hard to get money for cancer research from super fat, rich pharmaceutical company with billions in revenue each year, and some scientismic loonie expects a qualitative research on clips vs flats?! Air vs Coil? In a sport full of variables where test conditions are nearly impossible to replicate per each test, depending on things like ground moisture, ground type, physical and mental fatigue of the rider? 

So next time some journo or engineery smart ass wipes his mouth with word "science" in relation ot bike product, thinking of the elusive cutting edge performance, to make himself appear like he knows better than you, he better talk of Bio mechanics, nutrition, neuroscience, because bike cannot ride itself - it is the old disgusting, boring yet true fact, that riders fitness and skill that make up for most of the equation which result is measured in units called seconds. Really, if you think you need a physicist to make you faster on your KOM, go to a scientist called psychologist first. Yes psychology is a branch of science, you take one guy tell him that he can ride down that rock garden, and then the other guy to whom you say that it is too dangerous but he can try - replicate test 10 times on different people and you may get a result that the guys who were encouraged did better. But for some people human sciences are not real sciences, life perspective of some of them is as wide as three clicks of low speed compression and 2 PSI of tyre pressure. And if you do think that you know something about the difference in ride characteristics of CC Double Barrel coil and CC Double Barrel Air, 432mm chainstay and 447mm chainstay because you read this and that, and it makes perfect sense - then please tell me how would you then adapt your riding technique to each option. Would you change your weight distribution, look bit further ahead, or would you  limit yourself to turn a blue knob with LSC written on it and proceed as usual?

Bike internet including bike journalism is full of babbling, pseudo reasoning of one material over another, one wheel or tyre over another, things taken apart out of the context, considered separately as if you could just maximize each factor and it all got better in a linear manner. All that without slightest notion of realization that our own mind plays tricks on us, because nobody gets everything, that nobody can escape the compromise and if you spend your energy in one place you lose in the other. We are naive people who take something that is a metaphore of the world we live in, take it's complexity, brutally simplify it to one of those dumb unsolvable issues. We take something that is nothing more but an own personal preference and dress it up as a god given, science proven, non disputable fact affecting whole of the universe. Why can't we get that realization more often that raw knowledge without application, confrontation with reality, that true science is really about, is a useless mental jerk off.

May science bless you anyway

Yours Truly
Wacek Waki

1 comment:

  1. LOVE your ramblings, ideas, designs etc...!
    But one question to make sure I understood correctly;"True science is a useless mental jerk off."
    Really...? 🤔

    Kindest of Regards.

    Fellow mtb:er