Dogmatism, 'authority questioning,' and science. (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 17:34:17 -0500 (CDT)
From: Larry Bud Melman <gasman-at-althea.a-line-dot-net>
To: Tesla List <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
Subject: Dogmatism, 'authority questioning,' and science.
I reiterate what Bart said, only even more vigorously. I read Michael's
original post with intense amusement, as I had been thinking something along
those lines for a bit now, only didn't bother to post about it.
As I've said before, I'm no physicist or electronics wizard - but I
am a scientist by trade and training. Science has dogmas which, sometimes, are
useful for a time until the 'surrounding knowlege base' makes it clear that
the dogmas may be flawed. However, once they're accepted as useful, sometimes
it's not exactly *clear* how long, or how tenaciously, they should be held
In order for science to advance in a way that is positive and true,
it takes both kinds of us: those who tend toward dogmatism and those who
have a low threshold to 'question authority,' if you will, or to espouse the
potential for modifying existing convention and traditional wisdom.
Science could not be, without both kinds of scientist. The existence
of both kinds necessitates the careful verbalization and rationalization of
each viewpoint - forcing each other to listen carefully to each other's
reasoning, and defend their own viewpoint if they think they should, or
even consider that the other is right... :-)
I am certain that Michael meant no offense to either Malcolm or
John, or anyone else. As to myself, I'm very glad to have everyone's
posts here. Although I really only understand probably about half of what
I read here, I just read, and post sometimes, and lurk a lot, and learn very,
very much. And, the price is right.
Safe coiling and happy science to all.
> > > An interesting question has been raised by the proceedings
> > > between John and the rest of the group-- does theory determine practice,
> > > or the reverse? Western science has in some ways been the history of
> > > Johns and Malcoms, those who prefer to rely upon previously existing
> > > theories, the truth of which they often times aren't willing to question,
> > > and those who question established theory, often times without the
> > > clarity of knowledge that the former display.
> > Dear me. I think you do me an injustice :( I do actually build and
> > fire coils. In fact, the thoughts I put onto the list are the endpoint
> > rationalization of experimental results. The theory I espouse is a
> > serious attempt to make sense of what I see in practice. Of course I
> > am not alone. I have taken on board the great ideas of many others
> > who also have added to the big picture through countless hours in
> > the lab.
> > > The sometimes unresolvable
> > > dialectic between these two forces could be evidenced by Galileo's
> > > struggle against the Catholic church and the predominance of the
> > > Aristotelian world view, or the apparent battle in modern physics
> > > between determinism and chaos theory. The point is-- neither side has a
> > > monopoly on truth-- a deterministic and "complete" theory which although
> > > structurally sound may not reflect the true operation of the Tesla coil, or
> > > the indeterminacy of as-yet-unformulated practical rules.
> > > John, I was reacting to your comment "What you are saying contradicts
> > > what theory says"
> > >From both a theoretical and practical standpoint, there is no way the
> > transfer is lossless. I have posted on this a number of times. Perhaps
> > I should simply shut up and be satisfied with what I know.
> > Malcolm
> > <snip>
> I and countless others know the valuable contributions you have made. You are
> *highly* respected for your work in all realms of TC's including building,
> measurements, experiments, theory, and making sense of your results. Please don't
> "shut up" due to "one person's" use of words. I'm sure Michael had no intent to
> discredit, but when you are used in his example, it can definately feel that way.