> The wise man knows that he knows nothing, and all
> that, to badly paraphrase ancient Greek
> I have this idea that the metasizing of the
> culture of "answers" is a direct result of mass
> public education, where kids learn to cram as many
> "answers" into their heads as possible from Books
> of Approved Texts. They take all these "answers"
> and use them to attack the questions on tests. If
> they defeat enough questions with their memorized
> answers, presto! They are "educated", and can stop
> learning stuff and get wasted.
> Questions are the enemy in modern education.
> People don't want questions, they want answers.
> But answers are a lie, because we can't ever know
> everything, which means we can never know anything
> for certain. Pursuing a question should lead to
> further and better questions.
> The scientific method is supposed to work this
> way. It starts with the acknowledgement that
> definitive truth is forever beyond reach. Thus it
> seeks not to define what is true but instead to
> illustrate what is not true. Things cannot
> be proven but they can be falsified. In this way,
> by illustrating that which is definitively false,
> perhaps some indication of where the truth may lie
> can be gleaned.
> Anyone trying to "prove" their theory is not doing
> science. Theories are tested by attempting to
> falsify them, not prove them. Proof is for math
> and courtrooms, it has no place in the scientific
> And yet I have noticed all these distinctive
> courtroom terms and phrases creeping in to public
> discourse around supposedly scientific
> subjects...such as "burden of proof" and
> "extraordinary claims require extraordinary
> evidence" and "consensus of scientists" and the
> like. There is no burden of proof in science,
> because proof does not exist in science. Who
> arbitrates what is or is not "extraordinary" in
> science? It is a nonsensical question, because
> "extraordinary" is a subjective evaluation, and
> science is supposed to be as objective as
> possible. As for "consensus", science is not a
> democracy, there is no valid consensus. And anyway
> the history of science is replete with examples of
> the overwhelming consensus being demonstrated to
> be dead wrong often by single individuals.
> Galileo, Copernicus, J. Harlan Bretts, etc.
All good points and points that fewer nd fewer people understand now days.
People don't seem even to grasp that "anomalies" are by definition processes or events we don't understand. All science whether ancient or modern has progressed chiefly by studying the exception and the anomaly. Things we "understand" will always be seen in these terms we understand so scientists need to look past what is known and understood to see the anomaly.
> I follow you up until "humams were a part of
> nature". Why do we not seem to fit in to any
> natural environment without need for tools and
> protection? It's either too hot or too cold, we
> can't hear or smell or see in the dark, we have no
> shells, scales, claws, or tails. Midday sun burns
> our skin, the chill of the night wracks our bones.
> We don't belong anywhere on this planet.
> If we ever harmonized with nature, it was always
As an "animal" humans are reasonably well suited only for warm climates. Even here they must adapt to tolerate the cold and avoid predation. Few niches will support much population. But even the protohumans which lacked complex language were relatively clever and had simple language so they could teach their young to use animal furs for clothing. I believe these early humans were just as adaptable as we are. People today can learn to adapt to almost anything and almost anything can come to be seen as normal. For clever animals this ability was enough that they even settled in colder climates with fire, spears, and clothes.
These animals were very much in step with nature because their simple language put them in step. They each knew the word for "tiger" in chimpanzee and gazelle. They could read their environment.
40,000 years ago there was a mutation that allowed humans complex language. But this first language was just an elaboration on their existing simple language. The simple language was a reflection of the wiring of the human brain and had the same natural logic as mathematics and so too did this new complex language I call "Ancient Language" (for want of another term). Humans were still in touch with nature but could now pass down complex ideas. Anything a person learned (like noticing the same sunspots at sunrise and sunset) could be relayed to their young. No longer were they restricted to merely showing how to skin a bear to make a fine suit they could pass down a lifetime of learning so that the young didn't have to start at the beginning.
Naturally they stayed in touch with nature since the way their science worked depended on language. Our science is founded on observation and experiment because we can't trust our senses and our languages are all illogical. But ancient people could always make more observation and their language was inherently logical since it devolved from the wiring of the brain. So their science was based on observation and logic. These are the tools that drive survival of the individual (and species). All animals (non-human) survive by observation and simple logic but this can't work for human any longer. We survive from the technology of ancient science (agriculture) and the many inventions cast off from modern science.