Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fundamental Flaws of Science - Part 2

 This is Part two of three. Find Part one Here.

I’ll call this second flaw “Observational limitation”. It is a kind of "truthiness" problem, but instead of being due to intentional simplification, or known deficiencies in the model, it is due to factors that we simply aren’t even aware of. I will try to illustrate this concept by borrowing from the book “Flatland”.

Take a look at the object below. What is it?

A line, you say?

It certainly looks like a line in this picture, but you are looking at it from the side. From the top it looks completely different.

You are thinking it is a circle now?

Now what if I told you that what you are looking at is in fact a 2 dimensional slice of a three dimensional Object? Now what is your guess? It could be a sphere. It might also be a cylinder, or a cone. 

You can’t really know without more information. But if you could only see two dimensionally, would you even be able to perceive the existence of a third dimension?

That is one concept presented in the book Flatland, when a Sphere attempts to convince a square of the existence of a third dimension. The square sees the Sphere as a circle. And refuses to accept the possibility of a third dimension. Ultimately, The square comes to realize the existence of the their dimension, and then begins to wonder about the possibility of more dimensions. The sphere, who helped the square to this new state of enlightenment, finds this preposterous, silly. He knows there are only three dimensions (just as the square was once convinced there were only two).

So, how much information are we missing? What don’t we know? What are we not seeing when we are watching light not come from a black hole? 

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