Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Stephen Barnard (
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 02:44:52 -0800

Angeline Kantola wrote:
> 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
> universally
> >predictable manner. Physics and chemistry are currently undergoing a
> revolution
> >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.

Right here! Including lots of original technical literature (journal
articles) on chaos theory, as well.

> 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.

Absolutely right.

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

But wouldn't it be much cooler that way?

> 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.

More aptly, a "complex, adaptive, self-organizing system", about which there
is precious little good theory as yet.

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Angie
> Doctoral Candidate in Biochemistry, at UW
> BS Chem, Stanford, '91

It's not a rant. It's refreshing reminder to someone who gets their
information about science from Jurassic Park.

Steve Barnard