Sometimes we get queries at Ask-a-Geologist that have little or nothing to do with geology. We find that some people have gotten wrapped up in an internet meme or conspiracy theory that is really pointless… and they come to us to arbitrate an argument. Here’s an example:
Q: Hi i was just wondering if you could answer my scientific question… is water wet?
A: First of all, this is not a “scientific question” – it’s a semantic issue. I’d recommend you begin by checking a dictionary for the definition of “wet.” This is what *I* found in a 3-second look at www.dictionary.com:
- moistened, covered, or soaked with water or some other liquid: wet hands.
- in a liquid form or state: wet paint.
- characterized by the presence or use of water or other liquid.
This question is thus not a geologic question, but a game of English word-play. It’s similar to the question “Is fire hot?” Well, DUHHH.
The larger take-away here is not to let yourself get caught up and waste time in internet memes. A substantial bulk of internet content typically has no filters – no peer-review, no foundation in historical or experimental fact. The things you find in this gray zone are like this pointless question. At least it’s one step above baseless conspiracy theories, that serve no other use than to provide click-bait advertisement income for people who resist the idea of doing any real work.
I’m reminded of the Daily cartoon in the New Yorker, from May 6, 2015 by Christopher Weyant: an unctuous member of Congress is talking to a reporter “I like to think we aren’t so much anti–science as we are pro-myth.”
Don’t be that kind of person. You can promote the myth or conspiracy that 1 + 1 = 3 if you want to waste air. The First Amendment to the US Constitution allows you to do so (at least in the United States). However, your math will not land a Lunar Module on the Moon, nor solve the problem of cancer. Your smart phone doesn’t work because of some made-up fact about electricity and angels. You don’t want to be the person stuffing dead air with platitudes, conspiracy theories, and pointless memes.