[Sca-cooks] Questions on theory and proof

Ian Kusz sprucebranch at gmail.com
Sat Feb 6 02:52:13 PST 2010

On Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 7:16 PM, Celia des Archier
<CeliadesArchier at cox.net>wrote:

>  However I see a lot more problem with
> scientists, academics and researchers who are unwilling to understand that
> "I
> can't observe it" or "I can't quantify it" or "I can't reproduce it" is not
> the same thing as "it doesn't exist" or "it's not true"... Who don't
> comprehend that a negative is not proof, and who therefore have trouble
> keeping a mind open enough to permit them to embrace the potential for
> later
> discoveries.  In Service,
> Celia

Actually, my favorite example of this in modern times has to do with
clouds.  Meteorologists stated that lightning traveled from the ground to
the clouds due to charge differentials which built up.  This was acceptable
physical law, and when pilots reported seeing some lightning travelling UP
from the clouds to ABOVE the clouds, scientists dismissed this as

The theory being:  This is a physical law that has been discovered, and the
math, thereof, works in practice.  So any reports to the contrary must be
untrue; the math doesn't lie.  See our perfectly-balanced equations?  And we
can use these equations to predict events that actually do occur.
Therefore, any accusations of inaccuracy must be false.

Turns out, they had to expand the theory, but scientific disbelief can hold
back the furtherance of knowledge, ESPECIALLY when we've got the answer
PART-of-the-way right.  Or only sort-of right.  It's like a bag; sometimes
you are getting the right proportions and load-bearing on the bag, but
you're still wrong, because the bag is inside-out.

Of course, the fact that the bag is actually a brassiere won't be discovered
for another couple of generations....so nu?

Ian of Oertha

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