Monday, April 2, 2012

Pierre-Simon Laplace is NOT a Commensalist

Michael Marshall
Well if I am a commensalist and you are too, just who exactly is not a commensalist ?

Well Stephen Harper is not and neither is Ricky Santorum , but you probably already guessed that.

More importantly, people like Albert Einstein, that icon of the tired old left, isn't one either.

Nor is his intellectual mentor, Pierre-Simon Laplace.

Laplace, and Einstein, thought of themselves as fully Modernist and firm advocates of the Enlightenment.

Laplace famously claimed that since he believed he already stood above and outside Nature and Reality for all practical measure, only a current lack of sufficient calculating power prevented him from perfectly predicting the present, past and future right down to the atomic level.

But both Chaos Theory (Henri Poincare) and Quantum Theory (Paul Dirac) show that if you are in anyway a participant within the system you are studying (and we finite humans are definitely within the Universe --- as even Einstein and Laplace would have readily admitted that), then even your tiniest efforts to measure it, act upon it and feedback to alter those measurements.

Thus, as with the food we eat and the air we breath , "all measuring instruments (and the beings operating them) dine at a common table" ---  that is they are embedded fully into the systems they are tryong to measure -- thus, in point of fact, they are commensalist with it.

But until someone accepts this, emotionally as well as intellectually, they do not act upon that knowledge or try to temper their hubris.

I do not believe that Einstein would have ever found it easy to accept that a small weather measurement taken in the brazilian jungle could trigger a big twister in Texas....

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