Re: relativity

Brian Neuschwander (
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 11:01:47 -0800

George Murphy wrote:
> Brian Neuschwander wrote:
> >
> > George Murphy wrote:
> > >
> > > There was a good example of scientific illiteracy on the NBC news last
> > > night (Mon). In talking about the attempt of the shuttle crew to get
> > > the Spartan satellite, the reporter said that it might seem easier than
> > > it really is because it looks as if both shuttle & satellite are almost
> > > at rest, but _really_ they're moving at 17,000 mph.
> > > Einstein (& Galileo), call your office.
> > > George Murphy
> >
> > The recent motion picture, Contact, was among other things, great
> > commentry on ignorance and imagination. The movie is the Carl Sagan
> > SETI project story as he would possily have it, but with a twist. I am
> > far from a Carl Sagan fan (he wrote the story), but the story did
> > contemptuously show the public as an ignorant mass with little interest
> > in true knowledge: the desert conclave, the Washington Mall scenes, the
> > congressional inquest as examples. As I sat through the movie, I
> > thought this was a bitter over caricaturization of the general
> > citizenry.
> >
> > >From what George is reporting, perhaps not!
> The _really_ sad thing is that people can hold the type of idea
> I noted together with the notion that in relativity, everything is
> relative. (An exact quote, from the headline on an editorial column in
> the Akron Beacon Journal a few years ago, was "In politics, as in
> physics, everything is relative".)
> George

Tragic, isn't it. I think Phil Johnson grappled with this sad aspect of
American life in his section on education in Reason in the Balance. And
further, what was excused as ignorant use of terms has become authorized
by post-modern literary theory and deconstructionism. "Lets all make
our own reality, and use any words we want to tell about it". This
silly exercise will be short-lived, to be sure. Pardon the bad analogy,
but it is like launching a 747 with no landing gear to come back down
on. When it runs out of fuel, all those philosophers out on their joy
ride are in for a surprise. They will discover there IS a single

Brian W. Neuschwander