Saturday, April 27, 2013

A hybrid between a billiard ball and a bowl of jelly : Modernity's 'the horror, the horror'

Hard to imagine Modernity ever being really comfortable at the Seaside : hard to ever imagine it capable of being relaxed and comfortable that close to such an un-modernist miscegenation of land and water.

This is because, starting with Newton, then Dalton and onto Darwin , Modernity's chief metaphor to describe Reality (both physical and mental) was as something built-up upon a collection of a few dozen different-sized and different-weighted hard, indestructible, impenetrable billiard-ball-like atoms.

So, too, Truth was one billiard ball and the non-truth another, life worthy of life was one billiard ball, life unworthy of life another and so on for ever more.

Living things (once formed into species) did not mix their genes ever again with members from other species said Darwin, adapting Newton's and Dalton's metaphor fruitfully to his re-casting of Biology.

By the 1930s, Modernity Science was under attack from people like Dirac and Pauling ,but only in the pages of Public  (scientifically published) Science .

They had demonstrated that that those supposedly so hard, so dense and so impenetrable billiard ball atoms of classical physics and chemistry were actually mere flashing smears of probability roaming around a lot of wasted space.

Molecules, the real basis of differentiated physical reality,  were formed of wildly shaped, ever-changing, ever-moving three dimensional collections of these smears of probability.

In biology, Martin Henry Dawson and others were demonstrating that species were also not billiard ball like but that gene material could freely cross the barriers supposedly separating species via activities like bacterial transformation.

Again, this was in the Public (scientifically peer-reviewed /published) Science media.

By contrast, in Popular Science, the science of High School and undergraduate courses, reality was still all about little billiard balls.

And more than a century later, still is.

In the last 80 pages of most current 900 page science textbooks, quantum reality is introduced furtively like the Church teaching 'sex for mature catholics' .

Over a century after quantum theory dislodged Newton from academic science HE (sic) still reigns supreme, whenever underpaid adjunct professors must teach massive undergraduate intro courses while the tenured mighty & wise ponder the Higgs particle.

Modernity long ago died away in mainstream culture and in academic science.

 But as long as it reigns unchallenged in Popular Science and in applied science, engineering and technology departments, we will continue to have these supposedly ' educated ' people out there blithely denying any limits on Man's ability to control the few billiard balls they see as lying at the base of all Reality.

Blithely denying the possibility of uncontrollable man-made climate change .....

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