CATO, AEI, HOOVER AND OBJECTIVE REALITY

Bert Gold bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu
Thu Jun 13 13:27:59 EST 1996


A few years ago, at the urging of a close friend, I attended a
touchie-feelie encounter-group like self-improvement course in
New York.  There I found I learned much about both human interaction
and intelligence.

One thing that I did come away with, though, that disturbed me a
good deal (and still does to some extent) was the assertion by the
group leader that there is, in fact, no such thing as objective
reality.

I suggested strongly to him that the "... earth is objectively an
'oblate spheroid' with a few seriously bumpy parts."

He, and I would confess to you, most of the crowd gathered there,
contested my assertion, and in fact, suggested to me that the earth
could be flat if they sufficiently believed it so.

This still bothers me.

             *                         *

Non-scientists are welcome to skip the next paragraph, you will
get the gist of my writing, anyway.

             *                          *

I have always been comforted by the thought that there ARE in fact
verifiable true facts in the universe and that the laws of physics
and chemistry are uniformly true throughout it (Ah, I know there
will be the quantum-geniuses among you, such as the notorious
Mr. Archimedes-Plutonium, who eats radioactive lava for lunch
on sci.bio.techology, who will dispute this assertion, nevertheless,
my brother and Mr. Plutonium aside, the laws of physics and chemistry
generally, I think, do hold true for those who continuously keep
our speeds well below that of light and who do not dare go to
the universe's edges).

            *                             *

And so it was with some reluctance that I left the seminar on being
a better person in New York with the odd feeling that I missed
something...



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