[Sca-cooks] Questions on theory and proof

Celia des Archier CeliadesArchier at cox.net
Sun Feb 7 03:13:30 PST 2010

Ian of Oertha said: 
> 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 superstition.
> 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.

Yet another thing that scientists and mathematicians tend to forget (or
ignore) is that math is simply another symbol set... It doesn't explain
everything.  They also tend to forget (or ignore) that math itself has had to
"expand" to accurately model reality... several times.

> Turns out, they had to expand the theory, but scientific 
> disbelief can hold back the furtherance of knowledge, 

Exactly my point. Certainty, of any type, has a way of doing that.  And
especially when we're talking about history, assuming that your theory is fact
is generally foolhardy.  Which is not to say that you can't have a sound
foundation for whatever your theory is, but being certain that your theory is
the gospel truth just closes doors. 

Ah... Isn't epistimology a lovely topic! 

In service, 

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