Frazz is confused. When he says “just a theory” he’s using the view of those who are completely ignorant of scientific theories. In science, a theory has a lot of research, experimentation, and evidence behind it so it’s very significant – like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
Actually, clear vinyl covers are much more Dad-food-proof than are throw pillows.
When I was growing up, back in the ’60’s, I knew a family that had patio furniture in the den, which was the room they mostly lived in, and kitchen tile on the floor in every room in the house. I think the living room had no furniture at all. Food spills, dog vomit, indoor games with batted balls, nothing upset any of them. In addition to their four kids, there were at least a dozen from several other families who considered it their second home.
One advantage of throw pillows is that they make nice one-person tables.
E=mc^2 was not a theory. It was mathematically derived. I’ve witnessed the derivation, and it caused the greatest brain explosion. The road to understanding the derivation is a long one, but once you do, it’s like someone pulled back a curtain on the universe.
That is what textured plastic sofa covers are for. People and spills slide off easily.
It sure would be nice if people knew the difference between theory and hypothesis. But they don’t. We careen through the universe on a ship of fools.
@Boots at the Boar and @Cactus-Pete: Fraxx said: ‘so WAS E=mc2 (don’t know how to make a small 2 on this blog). Note the word WAS implying the a theory must be proven and once proven it is not a theory.
Why is she bowing, arms outstretched, and eyeing the floor? Did she sing her question to the tune of Saper vorreste?
I think I know why Mallett hates football so much. In school, he said things like “Answer and ponder” to guys on the varsity and one of them punched him in the face.
Why would having throw pillows on a sofa prevent the pizza sauce from landing on the upholstery? The first thing you do, even before you sit down on the sofa, is throw the damn pillows out of the way. If you’re going to try to keep the fabric clean, make a supply of paper plates and towels readily available nearby. And I’ve found that a spray bottle of Resolve works wonders!
We added a kotatsu a few weeks ago and sit in that now to watch TV. Much better than too many pillows.
It’s not a theory, it’s a hypothesis.
The koan of Frazz.
Look, all we have to work with are our perceptions. We perceive, therefore we exist.
However, this does not answer the question of the nature of our existence. Is our existence dependent, or independent?
If dependent, then when the perceiver who imagines us ceases to imagine us, we cease to exist.
If independent, we still don’t know if there is any independent ‘object’ causing our perception. It might be no more than a figment of our imagination.
If an independent object causes our perception, is our perception entirely an aspect of the object in question, or does it also depend upon us and our nature?
For example, remember the experiment James Clerk Maxwell ran regarding light and color, in which he had a colored wheel with two colors and a cover to select how much of either color would show when the wheel was spun? He would spin the wheel fast enough that an observer perceived a single color. He kept a stationary color reference, and would adjust the spinning color until the observer said they matched . He found that the ‘ratio of the colors shown on the wheel’ required to match the stationary color, varied between persons with blue eyes and persons with brown eyes, so that he learned that people do not all see color identically.
Even if we and ‘the universe’ all have an independent existence, what we observe can depend on the characteristics of the observer/detector used.
Can observers, even professional physicists, deceive themselves regarding what they observe? The answer is decidedly YES.
As scientists, we make models of our perceptions. It is important to remember that models are just that:
a representation, mathematical or otherwise, of our world of perceptions.
They should not be mistaken for the ding an sich, or thing itself.
For example, if you are a clever artificer, you might make a robotic model of your wife, complete in appearance, speech, and mannerisms, yet it would still be just a model, and not (we hope) your wife herself.
We make models of our world of perceptions, and make measurements on what we imagine to be that world in itself, and if these observations match what our models predict, then we regard them as ‘good’ models.
Nevertheless, no matter how many obervations/measurements we make, our model is still just a model. We can still find situations in which our model fails to match our measurements (observations) of our world of perceptions. This is not a problem. Looking for discrepancies is what we do. If we find them, then we patch up our models, or, sometimes, discard them in favor of alternate models that more successfully agree with our obervations of the universe of our perceptions.
We tend to be somewhat prejudiced in our choice of models, preferring a la Occam’s Razor to emphasize the simplest model that matches all of our observations.
It is only the general public, under the influence of various persons with various motivations, that believes we ‘know everything’, or that such-and-such is the one true model of how everything works.
In that regard, this anecdote might amuse you. A theorist came to our university to give talks on the work he had been doing with others. Meeting with our group, he carefully prefaced his remarks by stating this was all provisional, and just for fun, to see where it went. Later that day, when he gave his talk to a general public audience, he presented it as the final answer to everything. We knew he knew better, but what about all the others attending?
It is worth doing the research, if only because of the many positive impacts it has on society as a whole. It is understandable that media presenters are after ‘wow’ responses from the public (and sales of advertising), since their calling is all about the money and/or influence (power of one sort or another). Some racists even try to promote their own hereditary group as the only true people who understand these things. Despite all the normal human nonsense, people who are interested in such things continue to poke and prod nature, and benefit mankind as a whole in the process.
If you remember nothing else from this post, at least remember that no matter how successful a current model is, it is unlikely to be the final answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Hypothesis not theory.
July 31, 2013