Re: The Flat Earth? - Conclusion

Madhudvisah dasa Swami (
Sat, 08 Jul 1995 10:35:15 GMT

[sci.astro removed from follow-up]

Eric Huber <huber> wrote:

> (Madhudvisah dasa Swami) wrote:
>> (Matthew Scott) wrote:

>>But the same process applies in physics. If you could find a perfect
>>authority who actually knows what is going on in the universe he could
>>give you the correct answers immediately. Everyone would agree this is the
>>best way of acquiring knowledge. If there were 100 students in a
>>lecture-theatre and there was a noise coming from the roof all 100
>>students could come up with a theory to explain the cause of the noise,
>>but they may all be wrong -- even if one of them was right how could you
>>decide who it was? However, if there was someone on the roof who saw what
>>happened clearly his version would be the most perfect...

>You *seriously* misunderstand science. There is no version which is most
>perfect, there is only that which fits observations. Let's promote your
>100 students out of physics for poets and into, say, mechanics.

>*Thump* *Thump* *whirr*
>Student 1: Hmm, someone is dancing upstairs.
>Student 2: No, that `whirr' sound more closely resembled an electric
> drill. Perhaps someone is making something.

>*Thump* *whirr* *whine* *clank*

>Student 1: You're right, though I think that last bit was a ripsaw.
>Student 3: Well, the thumps are almost definitely footsteps, judging
> from pitch and volume.
>Student 2: Shouldn't they arrive in pairs though?
>Student 1: Not if someone is at a machine, working ... then they just
> step to one side to get something.
>Student 3: Hmm.

>*Thump* *thump*

>Student 1: Those aren't footsteps, that was a bounce! Something heavy
> just dropped.
>Student 2: What about those whines and whirrs?
>Student 3: Portable saw?
>Student 1: Think so.

>[Enter student 4]
>Student 4: Hey, aliens just landed on the roof!
>Student 1: Aliens that bounce?
>Student 2: And whirr?
>Student 3: Doesn't fit the evidence. Let's verify that observation.

>[Exit students 2 and 3]
>Student 1: Aliens?
>Student 4: Well...

>[Enter students 2 and 3]
>Student 2: There are no aliens, but there is an electric wench.
>Student 1: I would theorize a tree fell over, and a workman is cutting
> pieces up and lowering them with a hoist.
>Studnet 3: If that is so, the thumps should exceed, and usually preceed
> the whines, as the person moves tree parts into position.

>*Whirr* *Thump* *Thump* *whine*

This is very nice. [I quite enjoyed it actually!] But still they may have
got it wrong. If I had the choice between the hundred students in the
lecture theatre and the one who had actually seen what happened I would
tend to believe the one who had seen it...

But what if the students had never been outside the classroom? What if
they didn't even know what the outside of the building looked like? What
if they had never seen a tree, what to speak of an electric wrench and a

Do you think they would be able to explain it? Certainly they would come
up with theories...

Another thought that crossed my mind was there is power coming out of the
wall-sockets. If these students had never been outside the room do you
think with the scientific method they could determine the nature and
mechanical arrangements at the power-station?

>As for your assertion that the best source of information is some oracle.

Not "oracle". An authority. Someone who knows what's going on. It is
clearly better to take the information from the one man who saw what
happened rather than the 100 who have just speculated what might have

>to answer all your questions, I would submit that no such thing exists, nor
>is it really needed.

There was someone on the roof! He definitely saw what happened...

>Even if it did exist, it must meet the same rigorous
>standards as other information souces, such as rulers, weights, voltmeters,

Of course his explanation would be in accord with the observations of the
students in the lecture theatre... But he is certainly a better authority.

>If you believe you have access to such a source of information, I would like
>to know:

>1. Why is the fine structure constant 1/137?
>2. Just what does the permiability of free space have to to with the
> velocity of light?
>3. How does gravity relate to the electro-weak force?
>4. What is the meaning of the imaginary part of the wave propigation
> solution?

>A perfect athority should have no problems with these trivial details of

I don't know if these things are so important. But you can work it out. We
don't need to know such things. You make so many complicated things and
spend all your life trying to understand them... But life doesn't have to
be so complicated... [You know, the cows, the bulls, the land, the

Thank you. Hare Krishna!

Madhudvisah dasa Swami

All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!