Our Need for Assurance

Filmmaker Errol Morris, once Kuhn’s grad student, accuses him of being a bad philosopher and bad person.

Source: Was Thomas Kuhn Evil? – Scientific American Blog Network

You get right down to it, we hate to be uncertain. The impression I get from the blog post linked to above is that Morris is none too fond of Kuhn telling him that he can’t be totally certain. I have bad news for Morris, you can’t be totally certain.

You get right down to it, we are limited. Limited in what we can know and limited in what we can understand. How we can see things has a profound effect on how we can know and understand, for we live at one level of perception, and when you go to a higher or lower level how you can perceive does change. There is a reality out there, but how we see it depends a great deal on how we can see it.

It is our flaw that we insist how we see things has to be the way to see it. In addition, how we see a thing depends on how we can see it, for our brains do not handle information as fast as we’d like. Speaking as an autistic, I get overwhelmed by what’s going on. At times things are just too much and I need some quiet time to get myself together. You get right down to it, everybody gets a bit overwhelmed and needs some time to get their shit together.

Oh, and Morris did insult Kuhn in that long ago meeting, with Kuhn over reacting to the insult.

So I wouldn’t say that Kuhn was evil, just mistaken. And that is was possible for him to learn and accept that. Just as it is possible for anybody to learn and accept that he was wrong, should they be willing to learn and accept.

That is how I see things. You?

On Being Wrong

Source: Home – Sasquatch Genome Project

In the link just above Dr. Ketchum presents her conclusion regarding the Sasquatch. Her conclusion is wrong, and that she is wrong is used by some of her critics to support their claim that she has to be wrong about the existence of Bigfoot. There is a term for this, the Fallacy Fallacy, in which the fact that one party is wrong about one thing means whatever else they say has to be wrong.

Now Ketchum doesn’t help her cause any through how she handles the data, in how she frames it. The presentation is crap and she assumes too much. Back when her findings were first released a skeptic had a look at them and found that the DNA found included a lot of gorilla DNA. This tells me that bigfoot has a common ancestor with the gorilla, which is what you’d expect given that both are great apes.

As I recall the skeptic concluded that Ketchum has to be wrong about the existence of the animal, based on her being wrong about the animal.This falls under the Fallacy Fallacy. In short, he came to a wrong conclusion because she made a wrong conclusion. In other words, he let his prejudice lead him astray.

He’s not alone, there are others who insist that something just can’t be all because another party made a mistake in one part of their conclusions. And very often it’s because the overall finding is something the skeptic didn’t learn in school. It comes down to this, we make mistakes because of our limitations. Limitations that mean we can’t know everything. We can at best know but a little of our world, and the rest will remain a mystery. But some just can’t accept that, for they are so insecure as to need absolute assurance.

And it’s not just in primatology. Physics is rife with it, with parties insisting on complications in their models, when the best way to understand what’s going on is to accept that it’s really quite simple, and that what we can see at present has layers beneath it. The foundation of the Quark is the String. Now what is the foundation of the String? For Strings as I’ve seen them presented are just too busy to be the foundation. Hadrons are badly focused blurs, Quarks are badly focused blurs. I suspect that Strings are badly focused blurs, and what they are made of are yet even more badly focused blurs. It isn’t until you get down to the bottom of things that you can an object that is simple and which constitutes the foundation of what all we know of.

And I suspect that this object is more a state spacetime can exist in, a state that in motion “disturbs” the spacetime around it that is in a different state. To add to this, it is my suspicion that there is a minimum size below which there can be nothing smaller. Which is to say, our existence is based on quanta below which we can not go. That is how I understand quanta, a part of spacetime and not in truth separated from it.

But anyway, whether we’re talking about zoology or physics, we need to accept that we can be wrong, and that we are wrong. I suspect that Strings are not the bottom of the pile, and I have concluded that the Sasquatch is a great ape living in North America. This last based on what evidence has been provided, and on what I know of the land of Beringia, which is at present partially flooded.

And that’s me being a contrarian.

Under Pressure

In this article it is reported that the nucleus of the typical atom is under great pressure. Greater than that of a neutron star. We also learn that the hadrons in a nucleus are also smaller than they are “free range”. That is, outside a nucleus. We also learn that at times hadrons in a nucleus will “overlap”, two of them occupying the same space at the same time.

Thing is, physical objects don’t exist. Not as we think of physical objects. What you’re seeing is a mirage, an illusion. Something we perceive because of how we can perceive and how we are equipped to handle the data we receive. Get right down to it, those two overlapping hadrons aren’t really overlapping, it’s their constituent parts that are occupying the same space because the vast majority of a hadron is empty space. Other hadrons are ordinarily excluded thanks to something that excludes them, it only when the pressure from the outside overcomes the exclusionary pressure that the two “merge”.

There is more I can say about this, but that needs to be composed. Just keep in mind that everything is empty space, it’s just that this empty space comes in something like two different flavors and those flavors do interact.

Plane Speaking

Way back before some of you were born the late Gary Gygax introduced us to something he got from Stephen R. Marsh, who in turn got it from Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society. The premise is that what we know of as reality is actually a multivarious thing. What we think of as reality is just the physical plane, and that there are others besides it. For Dungeons and Dragons Gygax named it The Wheel, then later adopted it for Dangerous Journeys.

In the center is the physical, or Prime Material. Though they are most often represented as being outside the center the Ethereal (mental) and Astral (spiritual) planes are actually blended in with the Prime Material, though they remain in some sense separate.

Other planes include the Elemental, the Divine, and the Abyssal. For the most part the Elemental Planes are thought to correspond with Air, Earth, Fire, and Water, though you could think of them as being Gaseous, Solid, Plasma, and Liquid instead. In the case of the elements you may want to think of them as embodying the qualities of gas, solid, plasma, and liquid. So that an Earth Elemental could exhibit the qualities of Earth, even in the form of an elephant or, for that matter, a garden slug. A shark can be seen as having the nature of water, and so a water elemental.

At present our science sees only the Physical Plane, though there are times when the others seem to peep through. We think of thought as a physical phenomenon, but there are aspects of thought that don’t quite fit into what we call physicality. The same with feelings and understanding, which may have much in common with the spiritual (Astral) plane.

And then there are times when some things seem to arise from below, or come down from above.

Of course this all assumes that reality is a two dimensional circle. More likely it is three dimensional sphere, and that there are planes and the like out there on the horizontal instead of the vertical. Though assigning what is the vertical what the horizontal is most likely not possible from our vantage point. As far as I can tell our Solar System would appear to be tilted sort of slightly off the vertical where our galaxy is concerned, and that our galaxy is somewhat tilted. We ever get to and pass the boundary of the universe we may well find ourselves ascending or descending into and through a higher or lower plane.

I come up with stuff like this because I’ve learned we know nothing really, and that what is out there could make us cringe with the apparent impossibility. For remember that Infinity can have no limitations. That is Infinity’s limitation.

Raising Questions

Boy, does this.

We have ideas, and we have some conclusions, but overall what we have here is a mystery. Actually, at least two, for with two nucleons merging with each other on rare occasion we likely have a new sort of particle, one composed of 6 quarks instead of the usual three. And a 6 quark body made stable by the conditions in a nucleus.

What do we call it? A super hadron? A meta hadron maybe. And what are it’s properties. What are the differences between a standard iron atom and one with one or more super hadrons? And how do you designate them?

And where they do exist in a nucleus what do they make possible? Could they be a source of a force or forces beyond the electromagnetic?

This raises questions as it answers one. That my friends is science.

Keeping Tabs

This is a video for something you may find interesting. Basically when your blood sugar rises it changes color. It’s intended for those diagnosed with diabetes, but I can see it’s use in diagnosing the condition, and for keeping tabs on one’s blood sugar. At present it means a permanent tattoo, but should it be possible with temporary ones it may well make a doctor’s visit a different thing indeed.

Heck, now that I think of it, felt tipped pens one would use to write on one’s skin to keep tabs on blood sugar levels and possibly other matters.

Saving Science

On the matter of saving science I have this recommendation, use it.

Use it for everything. No matter what the subject, use science. It doesn’t matter whether science can prove or disprove a subject, use it. Politics, religion, bigfoot, use science.

Science is not what you use to prove or disprove anything, science does what it does. And your liking or not liking the answers you get is not the fault of science, that is your fault.

Use science, use it properly, and accept what it tells you.