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  • TalkRational: Questionable content, potentially containing dismissiveness.

Topic: Weaving the rainbow  (Read 788 times) previous topic - next topic

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Re: Weaving the rainbow
Reply #25
Its quite easy to be awed and inspired and think that the Northern Lights are wonderful, even if you know how they're formed- even if you, as a physicist, studied the process by which the solar wind interacts with the earth's magnetic field in detail, by simply not thinking about it at that time and just sitting back and enjoying the show.

I also think you're wrong. The "mystery" of a rainbow, or the perseids, or the aurora are interesting, but I find it far more satisfying to know how and why they happen, than not to know at all. For example I find it very hard to grok modern art (you know the ultra abstract or "object trouve" stuff) unless I have a little plaque telling me what the artist was intending to convey, because then I have a jumping off point from which I can construct my own meaning (which might be the opposite of what the artist intended) coming to it cold I'm usually just a bit baffled. I also think Borealis is right, when I look at the constellation Orion I'm not just looking at big flaming balls of gas and plasma undergoing fusion reactions a couple of hundred light years away, I'm also thinking about the stories the ancient Greeks told about this great hunter, and how he was basically a bit of a dick.

Was he also a bit of a Nimrod?
( I think Yanks and Limies might interpret this differently.)

Re: Weaving the rainbow
Reply #26
TC reminds me of a professional wrestling fan I once knew. He was always talking about the latest soap opera around the latest matches. But mention that it was all fake and he would just walk away. He could not enjoy the narrative unless he could pretend it was all real. I saw that as a sad limitation on his imagination.

Humans are creatures of narrative.  We explore moral possibility space with narrative. That narrative does not have to be real or true in order for it to be powerful and useful.

But having said that it should be noted that grounding your narrative in reality can be very useful. Consider a religious narrative for example. If it is not grounded in reality and you must believe it in order to enjoy it then you might be a creationist. Or Donald Trump supporter. Good luck with that.

As a kid I loved Star Trek. As I grew older I began to understand that faster than light travel as depicted was impossible. And so many technological species in so small a space was impossible. Did that reduce my enjoyment of Star Trek? A little in that it made the narrative look more contrived. Is that a bad thing? I think it's called growing up. People who don't grow up continue to enjoy seeing old fat men in their underwear pretend to throw each other around a ring.

I didn't much care for "unweaving the rainbow" but only because it spent more time criticizing Gould than explaining the beauty of science. It has been many years so my memory may not be trustworthy.

  • MikeS
Re: Weaving the rainbow
Reply #27
TC reminds me of a professional wrestling fan I once knew.
That's gotta hurt, Testy.