Tuesday, March 20, 2007

[The Random Factor #21] The eye of the beholder

"Before the coming of the white man to the
north, Eskimos believed that if they cut
slabs of ice, organized them in a circle,
formed a dome, and lived inside they would
please the spirits. Apparently the plan worked.
The contented spirits made sure the Eskimos
stayed warm even when the temperature dipped
to 40 below zero outside.

Eventually, Western scientists showed up and
tried to explain how the Eskimos had mastered
an invisible force called thermodynamics.

According to these presumptions foreigners,
the igloo's tunnel-like entrance preheated
outside air, the movable snowball door let
in precisely the amount of this air that could
be further warmed by the seal-oil lamp inside,
and the adjustable hole in the roof allowed
just enough of the resulting rising currents
out to create the convection that kept the
whole thing going." - Bloom, Howard: (From
The Lucifer Principle, a scientific expedition
into the forces of history)

The obvious skeptic argument here is just because
these Eskimos miraculously mastered the art of
thermodynamics does not necessarily mean they
learned it from 'spirits.'

But, what's a bit strange about that conclusion
is that if these same Eskimos were eye-witness
to a crime, and they all pointed out one person
as the culprit, we would not hesitate to convict
based on their testimony.

Funny how that works.

Some Guy


This text published originally in the newsletter
The Random Factor at www.some-guy.com because
thought is a precious gift and invaluable
therefore the stimuli in which it's rooted.

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