On The Sillyness of Consensus

This is a wonderful statment of the understanding that those who claim the most certainty might well be the least centered:

The short form:

In much more context:

In this one, we learn to think about what something means, not just it’s name (a habit I’ve always had) and the problem of not using the names (a problem I’ve always had…). A brief trip past the importance of curiosity, on the way to realizing that it’s the unknown bits that matter.

A brief tour of subatomics. Still not ‘settled science’ in that every few years comes another surprise:

Then you find out there can be an infinite number of ‘parts’ inside a proton… and some of the rules we thought were needed are not needed. And maybe at the very macro level some of the laws don’t work well either. So, do the laws of physics evolve over time? And do Quasars give us a clue?

And if it’s all that unclear at the basic level, how do we really “know” what’s going on at the macro level?

Does a focus on “Finding what’s right” limit your ability? Does a new point of view bring the most benefit? Is it best to have an open mind so that those ‘new ideas’ can help you? And is it essential to appreciate the mystery of being in a ‘new’ place of discovery?

FWIW, I think the “Ah Hah!” moment comes when the Right Brain talks to the Left Brain and presents it’s answer…

But then again, we live in an incredibly complicated place, and yet we sort this out. Somehow. Maybe.

Even though we don’t really sense most of what is happening around us. But maybe that’s a good thing, lest we be overwhelmed and end up knowing nothing.

And it’s all in a single wave function (that we sometimes think of as made of particles, but it isn’t, execpt when it is…) Somehow our eyes can sample that wave function and our brains can make sense of it. But is it reality? Or just a shadow of the reality?

If one bug thinks it understands everything because the other bugs think the same thing, isn’t it really rather silly to hang reality on that belief?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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3 Responses to On The Sillyness of Consensus

  1. RuhRoh says:

    Wow, so nice of you to find those vignettes of Fearless Leader holding forth…

    I was wearing a silly hat in the audience in 1974 when he delivered the Cargo Cult Science lecture. It had a big effect on me.

    I really enjoyed the clip of him explaining the scientific process for finding a new Law of nature;

    “First we guess it; {laughter}; don’t laugh, that’s really true”

    Thanks for another fine day brightener!

  2. j ferguson says:

    The power of “I don’t know.”

  3. Ken McMurtrie says:

    Where do I start?
    This chap is probably unique, if only because he is the one who is available to the ‘public’, in this instance, courtesy of EM, is enthusiastic about his beliefs, is exhibiting large amounts of open mindedness, obviously has very wide-ranging knowledge and understanding, is enthusiastic about expanding his knowledge and gains pleasure from talking to other scientists and obviously to us viewers. We have a lot to learn from him.
    Yet, there are questions that sprang to mind while viewing these enlightening videos. I have learnt a great deal but wonder about some aspects.
    After much talk about how science has evolved, theories being created by various motivations and superceded by new ideas, proving the need to be open-minded, Richard often refers to new observations not fitting the existing principles and there being a need to explain why. Seemingly forgetting that this may be due to a reliance on the existing principle which, in fact, may need to be revised itself. Complete open-mindedness does not appear to exist.
    He mentioned that he cannot easily talk to many people, this may be because he finds it difficult to actually stop talking and to listen to others, even the great Fred Hoyle.
    His theory of simplicity usually being the final result of a search for answers, rings true. I am sure that there are ‘scientific theories’ that are kept alive by inventing complex mathematical formulas/equations/theories resulting from paradoxes and seemingly strange and difficult to understand observations, instead of looking further, or laterally, for simpler rational explanations.
    This may be the reason why, as Richard pointed out, when a new theory is created, the question is asked “why didn’t we think of this years ago?”.
    Even Einstein stated that he would be surprised if his theories would stand the test of time and not be eventually superseded.
    Thanks EM, for this enlightening post, and opportunity to comment.

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