Anton Aylward

New evidence may shed light on mythical sea monter

Shonisaur Painting at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State...

Let’s leave aside one of Clarke’s laws – the one about reputable scientists saying what is and isn’t so (heck, I’m an engineer and engineers take a dim view of the limitations imposed by physical laws) but lets just focus on how some scientific theories were pooh-poohed for a long while.

Most pre 1970 authorities and encyclopaedia classified ‘tectonic plates and drift’ as ‘junk science‘, pretty much in the same class as Velikovski. Issac Asimov wrote a long science article on that.

And why shouldn’t giant whale-sized ichthyosaurs have predators?

Enhanced by Zemanta
Anton Aylward

Great New Word

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) – a system of government where
the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of
achieving, and where the members of society least likely to
succeed are abundantly rewarded with goods and services paid for
by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Economic theory suggests an excessive minimum ...

Enhanced by Zemanta
Anton Aylward

Cosmic Emergence

When explaining emergence
I sometimes say, half jokingly that:

The English language is an Emergent Property of the Hydrogen Bond

We usually talk of emergent properties of complex systems in the contemporary world, things like bio-systems and ecology, complex social systems and of course consciousness and “intelligence”.

Emergent properties are usually the result of complex interactions.  Simple, first level interactions such as sodium and chlorine, neither of which are crystalline or salty, combine to make salt – which has properties that are not inherent in either of them.  However basic chemistry does tell us that such chemicals can make “salts”.  Water, however, has complex physical properties that are unique in chemistry and cannot be predicted from knowledge of how similar elements combine.  Merely saying that:

“An emergent is a higher-level property, which cannot be deduced from or explained by the properties of the lower-level entities.”

is inadequate.  It may be simply that we don’t have the detailed knowledge.  Non-chemists, for example, will not be aware of the chemistry of “salts”.  There are no shortage of stories based on having such a superior knowledge to “impress the natives”.  Or be a stage magician.  See, for example, Penn and Teller explaining how they do their “magic” tricks.   Continue reading