Archive for the ‘Scientific Laws’ Category

Information Patterns – very exciting!

December 10, 2007

Science is all about identifying patterns and then representing those patterns abstractly.  Abstract representations allow us to contemplate the properties of a whole class of things, rather than treating each thing on a case-by-case basis.

For example, long ago people noticed that when an object is lifted and released, it falls down to earth.  It doesn’t matter whether the object is a rock or feather or anything else.  All objects exhibit the same pattern of behavior.

The Internet is all about exchanging information.  Certainly we should be able to identify patterns in that vastness of information.  Thus we are challenged to become information “scientists”: identify patterns in information, create abstract representations of the patterns, and then for each particular instance (i.e. each web document) relate it to an abstract representation.  Once we – the community of web designers – start to do this then we will be able to do some exciting very things.  We will, for example, be able to collect all instances of an information pattern and (1) recognize that they are all of the same class of things, and (2) aggregate, manipulate, and massage the information in ways that make sense for that class of information.

Here is an example of an information pattern: Garlic Lowers [Does Not Lower] Cholesterol

See what is general in what is particular and what is permanent in what is transitory

October 26, 2007

Consider how all events are interconnected.  When we see the lightening, we listen for the thunder; when we hear the wind, we look for the waves on the sea; in the chill autumn, the leaves fall.  Everywhere order reigns, so that when some circumstances have been noted we can foresee that others will also be present.

The progress of science consists in observing these interconnections and in showing with a patient ingenuity that the events of this ever-shifting world are but examples of a few general connections or relations called laws.  To see what is general in what is particular and what is permanent in what is transitory is the aim of scientific thought.

An Introduction to Mathematics by Alfred North Whitehead

Illusion of Certainty, Reality of Doubt

October 17, 2007

Humans have a “tendency to prefer the illusion of certainty to the reality of doubt.” [The Wisdom of Crowds by James Suroweicki]

In any situation we quickly become convinced that we are correct.  “This is certainly true, I am right.”

We should not be so quick in our judgments of certitude.

There are few things in life that we can be absolutely certain are true.  Even scientific “laws” are just theories that may be discarded at any time if countering evidence is found.

Best to act on your present knowledge while doubting what you know.

Best to adopt an attitude of wisdom.