Releasers - Anne Kilmer couldn't possibly be more wrong!

Stanley A. Gorodenski stan_gorodenski at
Mon May 19 01:30:22 EDT 2003

Xi Wang wrote:

> results are consistent with those obtained by the other 8 individuals.  However,
> in science, all fields are to some degree interconnected, and for an idea to be
> accepted as valid, it must be consistent with all else we know (ideally).  For
> example, the laws of thermodynamics in physical chemistry would not be valid if it
> did not make logical sense and was explicable at a quantum level.  The very power
> of science and mathematics is self consistency, only then can we be confident that
> what we know can be taken as a valid, and good approximation of what we believe to
> be the truth and objective existence.

This is not very related to lepidoptera, but the thread has been started, so far no
one has objected, and so I would like to throw in my two cents worth (or a mill or

This all sounds very reasonable and comforting. It is the kind of philosophy I have
lived with throughout my life. But I wonder. It appears there may be a sort of
circular reasoning here. It can be argued that this philosophy of the natural world is
the result of scientists and the rest of humanity growing up and living in a world
where all measurable quantities  _appear_ to be interrelated. There appears to always
be a cause and effect, an action and reaction, physical states of matter and energy
can be related through appropriate mathematical transformations (e.g., E=mcc), and so
on. Since everything _appears_ to be interrelated, then it must also be so in an
absolute sense.  Therefore, by this reasoning, if something cannot be described by
mathematics, complicated formulas, and fit in logically with the rest of the physical
world, then it must not be good science and the person who did the research was not a
good scientist. This attitude seems to be driven more by the human brain having
evolved in a world of these "macro" interrelations, rather than through the process of
viewing the physical world with an open mind. Our thought processes having been molded
by the world we live in might make it very difficult to think any other way. If I
design a calculator so that the sum of two and two equals four, it would never be
possible for it equal anything else unless there was a malfunction. Although
physicists have historically been on a quest for underlying unifying theories, is this
ultimately possible, especially when attempting to unify the quantum world with the
macro world? Can we ever get beyond the uncertainty principle or ever know what
happens inside a black hole?


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