16 August 2010

Squawking About Hawking: Theoretical Physicist Gets Hate 'Mail'

Can you judge a newspaper by the people who write in to its letter pages? Possibly, but what about the ones who make comments underneath the online articles the paper publishes at its site?  The Daily Mail, that famous voice of reason and calm, recently published an article about Stephen Hawking's views on the future of our species.

They spotted his opinion about our inability to get on with each each other and prediliction toward anniilation on the website Big Think.  Hawking reasoned that we had better high tail it off Sol 3 within the next two hundred years or so or face extinction.  In that way, by spreading the gene pool throughout the known Milky Way, then if Earth just happened to go kaput it wouldn't be the worst thing ever as there would be people on other planets who could carry on the species (just wondering, tho, if he has read The Martian Chronicles. Hmmm).

OK, that's the background covered.  So, this being The Daily Mail, one could have expected, one should have expected the response to be as calm and measured as the usual copy to be found within its august pages (online or otherwise).  Yup.  You know what happened.  Here is one reader's response below.

If only Stephen Hawking wasn't crippled up in that wheelchair perhaps he could live a life without the sort of comment above, methinks.  If he was just another astrophysicist (note - he isn't really, he is a theoretical physicist with a sideline in cosmology) then he wouldn't get listened to nearly as much.  I can only wonder how many scientists, astrophysicist or otherwise that -R, CBD in Melbourne is aware of or has listened to lately.  Ho hum.

So, back to the original question - can you judge a newspaper by the comments left under their articles.  In this case, yeah.  As for CBD in Australia, we'll see you On The Beach.