[lit-ideas] Re: gods & tides

  • From: "Adriano Palma" <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxx>,<lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "John McCreery" <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2012 14:57:01 +0200

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** Reply Requested by 4/29/2012 (Sunday) **

my friend, the devil famously is in the details.
he is also the author of the best disappearing tricks ever invented, 
convince people he does not exist
/from the usual suspects, the film/

נצח ישראל לא ישקר 

University of KwaZulu-Natal 
Howard College Campus, philosophy 
Durban 4041 South Africa
Tel off: [+27] 03 12 60 15 91 Fax [+27] 03 12 60 30 31
(sec: Mrs. Yolanda Hordyk : [+27] 03 12 60 22 92)
mobile 07 62 36 23 91 from abroad +[27] 76 23 62 391
EMAIL: palma@xxxxxxxxxx
palma's office 280 (3rd flr of Mtb)
to meet email palma@xxxxxxxxxx 
palma's timetable term 1\2012 Su 11:00 hrs, seminar of the phildept,
Mo09:35 Tu13:15 We10:30-12.10 Th12:20 |ph212 @ mtb315.A
*only when in Europe*: 
inst. J. Nicod
29 rue d'Ulm
f-75005 paris france

An die Nachgeborenen
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
Das arglose Wort ist töricht. Eine glatte Stirn
Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin. Der Lachende
Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
Nur noch nicht empfangen.
Was sind das für Zeiten, wo
Ein Gespräch über Bäume fast ein Verbrechen ist
Weil es ein Schweigen über so viele Untaten einschließt!
Der dort ruhig über die Straße geht
Ist wohl nicht mehr erreichbar für seine Freunde
Die in Not sind?
Es ist wahr: ich verdiene noch meinen Unterhalt
Aber glaubt mir: das ist nur ein Zufall. Nichts
Von dem, was ich tue, berechtigt mich dazu, mich sattzuessen.
Zufällig bin ich verschont. (Wenn mein Glück aussetzt, bin ich
Man sagt mir: Iß und trink du! Sei froh, daß du hast!
Aber wie kann ich essen und trinken, wenn
Ich dem Hungernden entreiße, was ich esse, und
Mein Glas Wasser einem Verdurstenden fehlt?
Und doch esse und trinke ich.
Ich wäre gerne auch weise.
In den alten Büchern steht, was weise ist:
Sich aus dem Streit der Welt halten und die kurze Zeit
Ohne Furcht verbringen
Auch ohne Gewalt auskommen
Böses mit Gutem vergelten
Seine Wünsche nicht erfüllen, sondern vergessen
Gilt für weise.
Alles das kann ich nicht:
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
In die Städte kam ich zur Zeit der Unordnung
Als da Hunger herrschte.
Unter die Menschen kam ich zu der Zeit des Aufruhrs
Und ich empörte mich mit ihnen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.
Mein Essen aß ich zwischen den Schlachten
Schlafen legte ich mich unter die Mörder
Der Liebe pflegte ich achtlos
Und die Natur sah ich ohne Geduld.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mich gegeben war.
Die Straßen führten in den Sumpf zu meiner Zeit.
Die Sprache verriet mich dem Schlächter.
Ich vermochte nur wenig. Aber die Herrschenden
Saßen ohne mich sicherer, das hoffte ich.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.
Die Kräfte waren gering. Das Ziel
Lag in großer Ferne
Es war deutlich sichtbar, wenn auch für mich
Kaum zu erreichen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.
Ihr, die ihr auftauchen werdet aus der Flut
In der wir untergegangen sind
Wenn ihr von unseren Schwächen sprecht
Auch der finsteren Zeit
Der ihr entronnen seid.
Gingen wir doch, öfter als die Schuhe die Länder wechselnd
Durch die Kriege der Klassen, verzweifelt
Wenn da nur Unrecht war und keine Empörung.
Dabei wissen wir doch:
Auch der Haß gegen die Niedrigkeit
Verzerrt die Züge.
Auch der Zorn über das Unrecht
Macht die Stimme heiser. Ach, wir
Die wir den Boden bereiten wollten für Freundlichkeit
Konnten selber nicht freundlich sein.
Ihr aber, wenn es so weit sein wird
Daß der Mensch dem Menschen ein Helfer ist
Gedenkt unsrer
Mit Nachsicht.
Bertolt Brecht Werke: Gedichte 2. Vol. 12. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1988;
pp. 85-7.

>>> John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> 29/04/2012 12:20 AM >>>
Dear me, and all I thought it was was a nicely phrased expression of
the thought that when you study people you must take account of what
they think because it affects their behavior. 


Sent from my iPad

On 2012/04/28, at 22:39, "Adriano Palma" <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Precisely, the alleged murderous fanatic has to be shot or (perhaps
with the help of sound reasoning and assessment of evidence)  persuaded
of the non existence
of a koranic obligation to kill children on airplanes
a divine entity telling me to shoot nurse in abortion clinics
and so forth.
the group of fake scholars who invent bullshit to influence consumers'
behavior have specialized in this, create "need" use it (the best was
hitler with the need for "space")
came then the interesting idiocy of academics who repeat the 1st year
epistemology joke of "it's true for me".
If this "thomas" is the one of the "thomas theorem" whose statement
apparently you include, it is an example of imbeciles putting a large
funnel on their immoral flatulence.
x "defines" whatever the heck that is a "definition" that there is a
divine law stating that abortionist are murderers and worthy of
now we apply the Thomas theorem, fill the blank
y "defines" the real threat iof the jewish plot to F, F is taken to be
horrible (if not define "horrible" any which way Goebbels likes,
misgenation? hooked nose?)
then the "real consequences" by Thomas theorem are that "there is a
presumably laudable Birkenau action to reduce the damage produced by the
since the consequence is "real" then what?
Did this thomas theorem ever think or even pause in the fumes of
Zivilisation, that it may be the case that
if there is no divine law to kill abortionists, there is no consequence
, and that holds no matter what the idiot thinks, the principle here at
stake is that some real cause may have some real effects.
It is (up to us) to find what the real cause is (drinking schnapps,
believing some cretin at the university) and so forth, hence the Thomas
theorem is by itself false, but worse than that it produces inane
I found that this "thomas" was adrunk bohemian of the 19th century who
never saw a science even with a telescope.. it helps put things in
STRANGER: We proposed as a sufficient mark of real things 
the presence in a thing of the power of being acted upon or 
of acting in relation to however insignificant a thing.  
Plato, The Sophist, 248 c-d 

>>> John McCreery <jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx> 28/04/2012 02:33 PM >>>
In the continuing search for clarity, allow me to add that I make no
assumptions whatsoever about the ontological status of gods, ghosts, or
things that go bump in the night. I only follow the lead of I. W.
Thomas, who observed, "“if men define situations as real, they are real
in their consequences.” Saying to a religious fanatic or frustrated
lover that what they believe is not real does not prevent murders.


On Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 9:05 PM, Adriano Palma <palma@xxxxxxxxxx>

** Reply Requested by 4/28/2012 (Saturday) **

Dear John, clear (and fair enough)
since you are by any standard accessible an intelligent person, we
disagree, and this is a philosophical problem.
I am not about to bore you with it, but for the statement of the
record, if you take seriously your sentence about the understanding of
the subjective world "they" inhabit in, you are in for a disappointing

Since there are none, there is no world of the subject X. Likewise
there is no godfor you, if there is god, there si god---

compare and contrast studying angels because a demented group of new
age asshole see talk to understand angels or some such.
My advice, here methodological, stick with your proposal to assume that
when one (say the sociologist of science) wants to look at the
aristotelian physics, she sets as an assumption that Aristotle had
access to falling rocks, tides and so forth.
Note that if that is false, namely the denial of the assumption is
upheldm and the rocks do have a natural place, then Aristotle is right,
by my standard, and by yours the problem does not exist, since Aristotle
more or less "described" "that thing" that was his world (and not
>>> John McCreery 04/28/12 1:37 PM >>>

Thanks so much for the Galileo theory of tides example. Very nice. We
very much, as contemporary jargon has it, on the same page. Where we
is in my greater sympathy for the sociologists' project. Stands to
since I was trained as a social anthropologist, a lot of whose
("science" in only the broadest terms) is trying to sort out how and
people appear to believe all sorts of odd things, what those beliefs
about the subjective worlds they inhabit, and their implications for
ways they interact and form groups, that sort of thing.

I have found it useful, may not have said it here yet, to distinguish
sorts of questions about science and scientists. Let's use Newton, for

1. If I want to understand Newton the man and the world as he
it, I can't ignore the fact that he wrote more pages on astrology than
did on physics.
2. If I want to position Newton's mechanics in the intellectual
of physics, to describe where it stands in the evolution of ideas from
Copernicus to Kepler to Galileo to Newton...to Einstein, Bohr, etc., I
ignore the astrology.
3. If I want to know if some proposition in Newton's theory is
to within a specified degree of precision, I can perform an experiment
rely on the word of those who say they have, but I can ignore the

I find many conversations on the net terribly muddled because people do
distinguish these various objectives. To me, Kuhn's question about
Aristotle's theory of motion is a type 1 question whose answer might
some bearing on a type 2 issue. Has nothing to do with the type 3
that I might read about in the pages of *Science.*

On Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 8:07 PM, Adriano Palma wrote:

> Dear John, I share most of what you say, with one caveat.
> Distinguish serious problems from junk (what you call the red
> "falsificationism" is a joke, precisely because (as you note acutely)
> aristotle drops the rock he does NOT see the rock not fall, hence..
> experiment is a dude
> In other respects, I could not care less about the clowns discussing
> not. Clowns equals =sociologists, philosophers of science, latoru
> related buffoons
> Consider an even simpler case (I take from a concrete example of
> science rather than from pop culture)
> Galilei in the treatis of tide (1616) claimed that earth's motion is
> right theory of tides (he got by looking at water in Venice, which is
> because I had the same epiphany, I was born there)
> now it is wrong, namely the earth rotation has nothing to do (modulo
> sessic phenomena) on tides which are the outcome of nomic causal
> that arise from moon (lunar phases) the frame (you may prefer calling
> paradigm) of this explanation theory is couchable only in
> fields (hence it is in newtonian mechanics and not in galilean or
> "classical mechanics")
> In that sense the Galilean theory of tide is wrong and the newtonian
> theory of tides is right.
> It need not be mentioned that of course Palma can be wrong in
assessing as
> right the newtonian theory, the burden is on those who say so, which
> can and the have to produce a theory which is better looking
> better in economy (ockam's principle), more general (as in accounting
> more than "only" the tide phenomenon) and so.
> Please note that my point is trivially true: how could someone as
smart as
> Galilei get it so funnily wrong? by not having access to the right
set of
> data, not having the theory (analysis of infinitesimals) that newton
> and a few others.
> Mssr Speranza and mevoy are kindly asked not to produce yet another
> on what "tide" implicates according to Grice, blah, blah
> for those of you who find the question funny there is a semi-good
> piece
> at
> http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/galileo-big-mistake.html
> that even manages to make the point graphically in a visual animation
> what a tide "would" be according to Galilei.
> The film is pretty, the theory is wrong.
> Signor Galilei 0
> sir Newton 1
> end of the match
> >>> John McCreery 28/04/2012 12:29 PM >>>
> On Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 6:31 PM, Adriano Palma wrote:
>> My comment. It is --perfectly-- possible that Aristotle is *wrong*,
>> namely that theory encased in 1 is false. What to do if that were to
be the
>> "case" to use this wittgensteinian terminology?
> Adriano,
> Thank you for your kind remarks. My answer is bound to seem evasive,
> let me have a crack at it anyway. Let us consider the question in
light of
> a scheme for talking about scientific method that I owe to one of the
> works of Noam Chomsky (not quite sure which one any more).
> We approach the problem like an engineer examining a black box,
> its inputs and outputs. From this perspective, we distinguish three
> descriptions of scientific method.
> 1. Discovery procedure. The input is facts and the output is Truth.
> 2. Decision procedure. The inputs are facts and one theory. The
> is Right or Wrong.
> 3. Evaluation procedure. The inputs are facts and at least two
> theories. The output is a ranking. Given these facts, one theory is
> superior to the other.
> Your question, as I read it, assumes 2, the decision procedure. My
> response assumes 3, the evaluation procedure. From my perspective,
> Aristotle's theory has been superseded. Newton's mechanics are
superior for
> all of the sorts of reasons you mention in regard to Galileo. I see
> additional benefit from calling it Wrong.
> Indeed, I would go further, and object that "Wrong" is a term that
> discussion, blocking the kind of question that Kuhn asks of
Aristotle: How
> could anyone that smart and that committed to empirical observation
come up
> with that theory?
> But, then, some care is needed. To simply say that Aristotle was
> within the parameters of a different paradigm says nothing at all
> some concrete specification of the elements of the paradigm in
question. At
> a purely intellectual level, one has to notice that, for Aristotle,
what we
> think of as physical motion was only one example of a larger
> change, of which, for example, a falling rock, a molding cheese, and
> dying man are all instances. But, of course, one also notices the
> of experimental apparatus, of any attempt to conceptualize change in
> quantitative terms, of a body of scholars who would insist that they
> shown the mechanisms by which change occurs....
> Could Aristotle falsify his theory by releasing a rock and seeing it
> fall? No. Which suggests that falsification per se is a red herring.
> better theories have over Aristotle's is that they account for more
> the fact of the fall. Newton's theory allows us to calculate velocity
> acceleration, to predict the parabolic curves along which missiles
> or fired into the air will travel, even to predict that if fired at
> the right speed they will orbit a spherical planet, falling forever
> they have nowhere to land. Einstein's theory gets plain weird,
> demonstrating that regardless of acceleration, the missile could
> travel faster than the speed of light. In other words, better
> explain more, more precisely, in greater detail, than worse ones.
> And, so long as I can distinguish better from worse theories, why
need I
> exercise myself over whether one, now generally regarded as
> theory is Wrong? Unless, of course, I want to understand how very
> people for thousands of years could believe something like that.
> Cheers,
> John
> --
> John McCreery
> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
> Tel. +81-45-314-9324 ( tel:%2B81-45-314-9324 )
> jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx
> http://www.wordworks.jp/
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John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324 ( tel:%2B81-45-314-9324 )

Please find our Email Disclaimer here:

John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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