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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 19

Re: Defending The Indefensible - Shough

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 11:50:01 -0000
Fwd Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 11:33:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible - Shough

>From: Viktor Golubik <Diverge247.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 16:42:21 EDT
>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

>>From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 18:53:45 -0000
>>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

>Science isn't so complicated. It's merely the progressive
>elimination of possibilities.

True. Only the other evening I was roasting a mammoth haunch
outside my cave when there was this tremendous rumbling noise
and a dazzling spear of fire came down. I went round to my
neighbour, Noog, who spends a lot of time in his cave thinking.
Maybe he could explain it. But he thought about it so long I got
bored and went to see the shaman instead, who was trained in
this sort of thing.

"Could it have been your wife shouting from inside the cave?" he

I said No, she was down at the river fetching water to make
mammoth broth.

"Maybe Noog next door dropped some rocks? Maybe you imagined the
flaming spear?"

No, Noog was out hunting. And I was sure about the spear.

"Well," said the shaman, "it could have been the spirit of the
mammoth, stamping on the sky. But mammoths don't hunt with
spears. That only leaves one thing. It was the moon god, angry
that you didn't call me over to propotiate him with offerings
before cooking. So he roared and threw down fire. Just give me
that mammoth haunch and I'll square things. You shouldn't have
any more trouble after that."

I was impressed with how the shaman thought of everything and
worked out the answer, and gave him the meat.

Next day I went round to Noog's to tell him the shaman had
solved the mystery of the roaring spear in the sky using simple
logic. "See, it's not so complicated," I told him.

As usual he was too wrapped up in his thinking and wanted to
show me a new "wheel" thing he'd invented.

Well I had to laugh. "What use is that for killing mammoths?" I

>I think most may, unthinkingly,
>argue that it's proving something. I would argue that the
>residue left after each elimination often contains the truth
>"somewhere" and that this "container" simply gets further
>redefined. Perhaps there's no end to this process?

I agree that we have no evidence that there is an end to the
process of matching successive best-fit models to phenomena, but
it can never be merely eliminative. This is to some extent the
method of normal science, the "not so complicated" science, the
science that those impatient for change are prone to excoriate
as the work of drones and time-serving jobsworths. The
transition to the new paradigm is the invention of a whole new
set of possibilities, which to some extent is anatagonistic to
the interests of normal science. So there is this tension. But
it is necessary. As Kuhn showed, the revolutionary science needs
the normal science to thoroughly explore the paradigm until it
exposes the points where it breaks down. You can't do without
either and hope to keep the process going.

>Echoing thoughts expressed, we must be constantly vigilant and
>not be so quick to weigh what is presently known with what is
>not. But, I guess that's difficult for some because it's so
>to load one side of the scale with books while the other side
>remains largely and invisibly unknown in substance. I guess
>tilting the scales in this fashion may simply be a classroom

I'm not going to bother responding to that, when both of the two
differently-complected but related anti-science positions
against which I've argued were based entirely on enlisting
(confusedly and inaccurately) the authority of science and
various named scientists! You can't rule in the use of the
reviews on the dust jacket but rule out the use of the content.


>Simply put, I think science teachers forget to keep the larger
>scale equations balanced... an unfortunate relapse with the
>reinforcement of some of the unknowns or an inability to put
>subjects into larger context. So, should we blame our teachers
>or their teachers before them... or simply rest this one on
>societies shoulders or the gulibility of human perception?

It isn't the job of science teachers, on the whole, to teach
what is "invisibly unknown in substance" but rather "what is
presently known". Students have to be able to see what is there
before they can properly begin to guess what might be missing.
This is the "normal science" equivalent of the historical
process in individual microcosm. Postgraduate revolution comes
later - then mentors and advisors can encourage all the
originality they want. And they do. Again, both phases are
necessary. I don't think you should "be so quick" to blame
anybody. You might as well blame the sun for taking all night to
rise. Let's all just take individual responsibility for learning
as much as we can, and encouraging others to do the same, so
that we can talk _sensibly_ about what the real problem areas
are instead of being just vandals lobbing stones.

Martin Shough

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