vermicious knids

i haven't been able to keep up with blogging recently. for one, i've been taking a history of astronomy class and attempting to learn how to read German. yes, this is what nerds do for fun during the summer. john, i tried to locate your blog by typing in 'vermicious knids' on google, but after the 6th or 7th page i gave up. couldn't find it. here are some further random musings. i'm in an aristotle reading group. aristotle gets a bad wrap. in fact, i would guess that when someone calls you an aristotelian--again, something that would only happen in small, select, extremely nerdy circles--they aren't complimenting your wardrobe, home decor, or your perspective on the universe. i would guess that they mean you are backwards. and/or you wear a toga. but, if you think about it and if you know what the hell i'm talking about, everyone approaches life like an aristotelian. ask a child, preferably one that pays attention to vaguely scientific things--chien, if he's nearby--why a rock falls to the ground. he'll likely say something like "it's heavy". see--aristotle would have said that. and if you say "what do you mean by heavy?" the average kid--chien might be a bad example for this particular question--might either (1) hit you (2) look vaguely disturbed and walk away or (3) respond as aristotle: that's where it's supposed to go. everything has a "right place" and everything is trying to get there. earth (what rocks are made of) want to get to the center to the universe. water sits on top of earth. air floats all around. fire flies up into the atmosphere, out of sight but below the moon. if you don't believe me, try it out sometime. throw rocks (not at things). observe lakes and rivers. burn something and watch the flames leap upwards. what's to keep you from saying "they're trying to get to their 'natural place'." if you say something smart-arse-like like: gravity makes all of this stuff happen, an aristotelian (or any kid that has observed the world closely but hasn't had a strict science class) will say "what's that." and then you're stuck. cause there isn't a thing called gravity. you can measure and observe the effects of gravity. but it's only "gravity" because we need a concept similar to "magnetism" between objects out in space and then we decided (or Newton decided and we all followed along) that everything should work the same on earth like it does in outer space (above the moon, for an aristotelian). so we throw around this "force" called "gravity" willy-nilly without really knowing what we're dealing with. i'm not trying to make the argument that physics is stupid. but i am saying that despite all of our great advances in the precision of measurement, the composition of the atom, and investigation and manipulation of very small and very large objects, we really haven't been able to improve on the simple, intuitive explanations of the ancient greeks 2,500 years ago. oh sure science has progressed. but since science is something only performed by a tiny minority of people, it hasn't dramatically changed the way that people think of the world. for your average person, the sun really appears to go around the earth, rocks fall because they're supposed to, fire flies because it's supposed to--everything does what it's supposed to do. everything seems to be very regular and relatively static, changeless. we may believe differently than we perceive things because people in authority (teachers, etc.) have told us not to trust our eyes, ears, and sense of motion. but we're not convinced. we still operate in virtually the same scientific context that the ancient greeks did. we just pay our priests/scientists better. last observation for the day: coldplay was better before gwenneth paltrow joined the band. "politik" had some teeth to it. no song on X&Y has teeth. in fact, when listening to it, i feel like i'm getting aurally gummed. i'm not sure who said it, but i agree with the statement that requited love kills rock and roll. you need that felt ache. coldplay has more or less lost that.... "and you belong with me, not swallowed in the sea...." hmmmm. not such good songwriting.


Anonymous Ray Grieselhuber said...

See - this is the kind of conversation I've been wanting to have with you. :-)

I'm only on Plato right now and he and Socrates definitely get a bad rap in the eyes of Russell and Russell is pretty convincing as to why these guys probably got too much respect in the past. As I understand it, Socrates, Plato, and I'm assuming Arisotle can not be called good scientists or even philosophers because they reject all knowledge that is attainable by the senses and prefer instead the mystical wisdom to be found in mathematics and logic (ignoring of course, that even these supposedly "pure" pursuits are based entirely on some original empirical observation and deduction from that starting point.)

Even better, he makes the case for how dangerous these assumptions were in the influence they had on science right up until the present day, and I have a feeling, influence the opposing sides in another discussion we've had here (creation and evolution).

6/30/2005 9:18 AM  

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