With apologies to Dan Brown ... - Catholic Courier

With apologies to Dan Brown …

The latest news from the physicists at CERN is that they have been successful at "creating" an anti-atom of hydrogen and holding on to it for a relatively long length of time. Soooooo … I have to admit here that I have no idea what the implications are of anti-atom hydrogen creation. What I found interesting in the press release though, was that the journalist and scientist being interviewed felt it was important to mention that the use of antimatter to create a bomb (as in the book Angels and Demons by Dan Brown) is practically impossible.

The need for this type of disclaimer on the heels of what is apparently a significant scientific achievement points to a peculiar characteristic of our current culture. Pop culture has come to be a major place of exposure to concepts and news to many people, especially young adults. For example, "The Daily Show" has been identified as a source of news by college students.

This blurring of the lines between entertainment and information is a type of formation for people that often exacerbates communication and the sharing of ideas.

This is not to say that the role of satire or fiction should be squelched. I believe these are actually highly valuable aspects of culture. What seems to be missing is a kind of critical process (in the positive sense of the word) to sort out what is true, what is conjecture and what is skewed by bias. No easy task, for sure, especially in a post-modern society, but here’s to at least trying!

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