The heart of The Who speaks!

L. Bird pkeets at
Tue Jun 29 23:14:08 CDT 2004

> >It's nice to putter around with knowledge of our place in the universe,

>Putter around?  You call four hundred years of science by dedicated men
& women "puttering around?"  Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Madame Curie,
Einstein, & others were simply "puttering around?"  I don't agree with that
at all.

Uh, yeah.  In the grand scheme of things, that's an insignificant effort by 
an insignificant species on a little backwater world way out on the dark 
spiral arm of the Milky Way.  As far as cosmic answers go, it just ain't 
going to cut it.

>>but when you finish puttering and look up, it's still all conjecture and 

>That's simply untrue.  Light spectra, the Doppler effect, stellar 
nuclear fusion are certainly *not* matters of conjecture.  I don't under-
stand why you are so quick to accept ambiguous mythological pronounce-
ments while deriding theories & ideas which are backed up by years &
years of scientific testing & evidence.  As Michael Shermer asked, "Why
do smart people believe weird things?"

These are all just theories of universal laws (aka conjecture) and therefore 
prone to change over the years.  Newton's ideas turned out to have some 
serious shortcomings once we got off the ground,  you know, and that's just 
the most obvious example.

Aside from popular cinema though, tell me what we could do if a stray coment 
came by and crashed into the Pacific?  All that knowledge would help us any 
more than size helped the dinosours.  And before you start discussing the 
odds on comets, there are more looming social crises.  Have you read the 
theories about what happened on Easter Island?

>>The stars are terrifying.

>No they're not.  Not if you understand them.

They're a symbol of the unknown and unreachable.  (Metaphor here.)

>>We are so small in this huge place we call the universe, and so lost.

>We *are* small, yes, but we certainly aren't lost.  What does that mean?
We know where we sit in our solar system, we know where we sit in our
galaxy, & we know where we sit in the local group of galaxies that make
up our "cluster."  You're only lost if you seek not to know.

There's more than one definition to "lost."   1) We're insignificant among 
all those stars.  2) We have no idea how to chart a course through the 

>>It's impossible not to hope there's something out there that will take 
>>care of us.

>And here we see the root cause of most of the errors in human thinking.
Wanting to be "taken care of."  Wanting to be parented.  Wanting to be
watched over.  Wanting to be cared for.

Yeah, I know.  I'm sure it's a vain hope.

>There's nothing wrong with those feelings on a human-to-human level,
but when the need gets extrapolated into conjecture about our place
& role in the universe, these hopes & fears quickly escalate into errone-
ous world views.

David wrote an excellent post on this.  I agree with you here.


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