The universe

From: Hans Franke <>
Date: Thu Aug 19 06:25:37 2004

Am 19 Aug 2004 10:01 meinte Rob O'Donnell:

> There is an interesting discussion of this phenomena (teaching incorrect
> information) in the book "the science of discworld" where it is rather
> bluntly entitled "Lies to children". sums this up
> quite nicely:

> "A lie-to-children is an expression that describes a form of simplification
> of material. The universe, so far as we can observe, is extremely
> complicated. The first time one explains something to a person (especially
> a child), one might give an explanation that is simple, concise, or simply
> "wrong" but in a way that attempts to make the truth more understandable.
> (Sometimes, an explanation can accompany it, such as "This isn't
> technically true, but it's easier to understand.")

I might differ here. The universe is first of all empty and simple.
An it likes to stay that way (called entropy) there are only a few
local fluctuations where this principle is violated, and still there
it's simple ... just a lot of simple things commong together, forming
some complex structure.

It's like LEGO. Let's be serious, 99% of all Lego briks exist in
unstructured piles. Only if put together the form complex structures
unimaginable if you just look at a single brick. And Legoland is to
these unstructured briks at every childs home the same than the human
brain compared to the universe :)

And no, I'm not talking (easy) creationism here, since even simple
structures can form (according to again simple laws) local fluctuations
that are hard to imagine if you don't see them yourself.

So, the universe is empty and simple.

> Examples given also include the answer to the question "what makes a
> rainbow?" - schools go to great lengths to distract kids with prisms and so
> forth to show all the colours in light as it shines through something, when
> none of it has anything to do with why a rainbow is bent into an arc, why
> the sun is behind you when you see the colours in front of you, why you
> sometimes see two rainbows, etc...

Must have been at the wrong school. They started wit the reflection
and the drops and then added the prisma for the colours ... I guess
everybody in class did understand fast. That is to me the difference
between, what I call everyday (or case based) science, and 'classic'
science. While the classic aproach is to tell all the basics first in
all depth, case based sciens uses a certain every day aspect and then
shows that it's based on simple things, which after that gets explained
in detail.

> Most people don't want to learn about anything, unless it has boobs

This is why I always founf feemale science teachers so interesting :)

VCF Europa 6.0 am 30.April und 01.Mai 2005 in Muenchen
Received on Thu Aug 19 2004 - 06:25:37 BST

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