Re: The Flat Earth? - Conclusion

Charles Staniforth (
Sun, 09 Jul 95 00:05:53 GMT

In article <3tlpun$> "Madhudvisah dasa Swami" writes:

>If you want to find someone's telephone number you could develop an
>elaborate "scientific" method to do it. You could call numbers at random
>on your phone and ask the people who answered where they lived. Eventually
>[after a few thousand calls] you would get a rough idea of the
>distribution of the telephone numbers throughout the city. Then you could
>narrow down your search to the numbers around the area of your friend's
>house... Then after many thousands more calls you may be able to talk to
>your friend... That is the ascending process of gaining knowledge, the
>scientific method. However there is a much better process, the descending
>process, accepting the knowledge from an authority, from someone who
>knows. You could call the operator or look in the telephone book and find
>the number immediately...

Rubbish. The telephone book contains misprints and mistakes. (Only a very
few, but some nevertheless). "accepting the knowledge from an authority"
would entail some telephone calls like this:

*ring, ring* *ring, ring*
"I would like to order a pizza, please."
"This isn't a pizza parlour. This is Al's Auto Repair."
"This most definitely is a pizza parlour. The telephone book says so."
"In that case I guess you must be right. What would you like?"

A "scientific" approach would quickly establish *through observation* that
the phone book was a very reliable, but not 100 percent reliable, source,
and would be able to recognise the mistakes when it came across them.
If a given edition of the phone book turned out to be complete rubbish,
the "authority" responsible for producing it would soon get kicked all
around town, not venerated.

Charles Staniforth