“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1)
Q: What’s the difference between a religious fanatic and an extreme science “enthusiast” ?
A: I’m beginning to wonder.
Neither seems to understand that there are boundaries to science.
In the late 1840s there was a Gold Rush to get to California to claim your fortune; to merely dig your millions right out of the ground.
Well, the difference between theory and practice is a lot bigger in practice than it is in theory. Thousands found nothing but fruitless hard work and literally lost their shirts.
I’m seeing an analogous “Higgs Rush” – the current mad dash to publish a “theory” (they are really at best only hypotheses) before anyone else does – no matter how disconnected it may be to bedrock physics.
Its exciting to have a new particle show up, but its not a Higgs yet.
Yet even though the head of one of the CERN “Higgs” experiments has said clearly
now articles are showing up wholly based on the false assumption that a Higgs particle has been established !
“Before we try to explain something, we should be sure it actually happened.” –Ray Hyman
Here’s one “What if we could split the Higgs boson?”
Maybe false media headlines are responsible “Celebrations as Higgs boson is finally discovered”
What ever happened to responsibility and physical reality in physics ?
Sure its exciting to have a new particle show up, but really ?
Here’s the entire passage from Mark Twain
“In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year.
Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod.
And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen.
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”
– Life on the Mississippi