Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Angeline Kantola (
13 Aug 1996 01:20:38 GMT

Heavens help me for jumping into this fray, but I have to comment...

In article <>,
Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax <> wrote:

>Many scientists are questioning the ability to measure things in any
>predictable manner. Physics and chemistry are currently undergoing a
>thanks to the insights of chaos theory. The gist of this is that there
are many
>factors which can affect a phenomenon.

Aaargh! Chaos theory! OK, show of hands here: who in the audience has had
graduate-level math and science? Good, good. Alright, now who's read an
article or a pop-science metaphysics book about chaos theory? Uh huh,
kinda what I thought.

There is *not* a revolution going on in physics and chemistry. We're not
throwing out mechanics, electricity, magnetism, optics, quantum mechanics,
relativity (general or special), stoichiometry, electronegativity,
molecular orbitals, the periodic table, thermodynamics, PV=nRT,
acids, bases, buffers, aldehydes or ketones (though we might want to
pitch a few low-molecular-weight amines--P.U.!), Grignard reagents,
Tanabe-Sugano diagrams, hydrogen bonds, polycyclic aromatics,
analytical methods or damn near anything else as a result of chaos theory.

Do not be misled. Chaos theory is not some sort of scientifically valid
fudge factor that means ***anything*** can happen.

Chaos theory goes a lot farther than "there are many factors which can
affect a phenomenon". Multivariate analysis, anyone? There are almost
infinitely many factors which affect, say, the development of a person
from birth to adulthood. However, the human organism is anything *but* a
chaotic system, scientifically speaking.

Apologies for the rant (what the heck is this doing under a header about
matriarchies, anyway?), but the idea that "Chaos theory means you never
have to say you're sorry" is really a bad one.

Doctoral Candidate in Biochemistry, at UW
BS Chem, Stanford, '91