Re: Deconstructing Physics

Sat, 9 Apr 1994 17:48:05 EDT

On Sat, 9 Apr 1994 11:00:59 +1000 Danny Yee said:
>On the other hand, I've always found the weirder cosmologies (as far as
>I can follow them) to be rather interesting (entertaining?), and it's
>really hard to predict whether these things (or the esoteric
>mathematics) will ever be useful. Sociologically I suspect a lot of it
>is driven simply by publication incentives. Most of that kind of work

Nah...I was an astrophysics major for year (it's a long painful story) and
I still know a few physicists of varying stripe. All those astrophysicists
really do think this stuff is interesting enough to dedicate their life's
work to and interesting enough that it has to be shared with the world (of
course, they buy and read those journals themselves). Most of them think
anthropology is the "pointless science" (assuming they're willing to call
it a science) because culture isn't "real" to them.

(Yes, I know some of you reading this just thought "Well yes, culture isn't
real". Let's not start that again. I mean "real" in the sesnse "worthy of
study" and/or "worthy of spending government money to build a supercolider
for". Rather a circular definition, but it's what they use....)

A lot of non-astrophysicist physicists, on the other hand, occassionally
tease/abuse (it's a continuum) astrophysicists about dealing with things
that don't matter, because they're things that are off-planet, are often too
far away to touch (and thus even verify their existence, in the most vulgar
materialist sense "I'll believe it when I see it at ten meters"). One
graduate physics student of my acquaintence openly refers to astrophysics
as "voodoo physics".

"Useful" in science/academia is largely a matter of persepective. (Now there's
a truism worth deconstructing....)

Sincerely, Michael Bauser, Emic Pest.

Michael Bauser (mbauser@kentvm.bitnet or
Dept. of Anthropology, Kent State University, Kent OH 44242, USA