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Sally's Journal
January 23rd, 2006
12:39 pm


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[User Picture]
Date:January 23rd, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
I don't think it is really correct to say that scientists understanding of light toggled as such. After all, Newton and Huygens were contemporaries, and the insight of the quantum pioneers was that they were both right.

Life is certainly full of uncertainty, but that doesn't mean that some positions aren't closer to the truth than others.
[User Picture]
Date:January 24th, 2006 11:07 am (UTC)
For example:

"When people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

-- Isaac Asimov
-- "The Relativity of Wrong"
[User Picture]
Date:January 24th, 2006 12:39 pm (UTC)
Life is certainly full of uncertainty, but that doesn't mean that some positions aren't closer to the truth than others.

As I understand it, atreic isn't denying that, though. There is a directionality to the scarf - travelling up the stripes one way takes you closer to the truth, and travelling the other way takes you further away. It's just that given two people who hold a superficially similar position - for example 'I believe this feather will fall more slowly than this iron ball' - they might have very different reasons for holding that position, and one's reasons might be very much closer to truth/reality than the other's.

So, when judging the likely truth of someone's views you cannot do it purely by reference to what those views are - you also have to find out why they hold them.
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Date:January 24th, 2006 12:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you, you saved me all the effort of having to reply to that and said it far better than I ever could :-)

In fact, that's a really nice example, because a) stupidly feathers should fall slower because they weigh less, but with more understanding we get b) the ideas of force and acceleration and both things falling at the same speed, yet with even more understanding we have to bring in c) air resistance and accept that the feather does fall slower.

My point is not just that b) is closer to the truth than a) even though superficially a) would appear "more right", but that (in as much as sweeping generalisations are ever correct) b) and c) probably are more similar people who will have more common ground/ shared beliefs / than a) and c), even though superficially a) and c) believe the same thing and b) and c) disagree.

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