24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 The Problem With Experimentation in the Real World

Government policies—from teaching methods in schools to prison sentencing to taxation —would also benefit from more use of controlled experiments. This is where many people start to get squeamish. To become the subject of an experiment in something as critical or controversial as our children’s education or the incarceration of criminals feels like an affront to our sense of fairness and our strongly held belief in the right to be treated exactly the same as everybody else. After all, i...
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Timo Hannay observes that we cannot experiment with classrooms and prisons because finding one experiment works means another didn't, creating winners and losers and offending our sense of justice.

18 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 The "Sagan Effect"

With Cosmos, Sagan sought to put an end to the fear and to inspire the kind of wonder Hubble's lectures had inspired in the 1930s and 1940s and the Moon landing had inspired in 1969. The series was enormously successful. For the first time since Hubble, a huge audience was engaged in exploring the grand questions of life, nature, the structure of the uni¬ verse, mythology, and what it might all mean, how it might all fit together, the mystery of it all. It examined how our search for meaning...
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The fact that Carl Sagan was denied tenure at Harvard because of the jealousy of his peers over his public persona.

27 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 The Unexplainable

Given the universe, even a universe devoide of matter as such but provided with the actual laws of nature, everything that exists could, and I firmly believe did, develop from and in this without outside, divine, supernatural interference. But that universe, with its laws! For one thing there is nothing inevitable about the laws. It is a fact that masses attract each other, that gravity exists, but a universe in which masses repelled each other is also conceivable, and in it nothing could pos...
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The Universe is ultimately unexplainable, and to call it "god" does nothing to counter this fact.

03 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 Science as a Quest

Pysicists are trying to find out how nature behaves; they may talks carelessly about some "utlimate particle" because that's the way nature looks at a given moment, but... Suppose people are exploring a new continent, OK? They see water coming along the ground, they've seen that before, and they call it "rivers." So they say they're exploring to find the headwaters, they go upriver, and sure enough, there they are, it's all going very well. But lo and behold, when they get up far enough they ...
Folksonomies: science scientific virtue
Folksonomies: science scientific virtue
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Exploring physics is like exploring a new continent.