Index – Book 1

They all gave different descriptions as perceived by their sense of touch and the part of the elephant they touched. Today scientists are furiously examining this “elephant” (our world) with their senses or their senses augmented by special instruments, and are coming up with different ideas about what they find. Some are so busy cataloguing information about one end of the elephant (the tail) that they cannot hear what their colleagues are saying at the other end (the head). I sometimes suspect that the very existence of the elephant is forgotten. Because of of specialization we have two problems. First, we have to rely on popularizers of science to explain in less technical terms scientific developments. Unfortunately in the “watering down” facts often get confused with personal speculations, especially with news media and science writers who inevitably have their own agendas.

 

There is also a danger of extrapolating ideas from one branch of science into another without justification. This has been done particularly with the biological theory of evolution that has sometimes been used as a complete explanation for everything rather than a claim about biology . Second, because of the delay in propagating new knowledge through the educational system we are generally out of date, though the internet has helped to narrow the time gap. As one who has been engaged in doing science (e.g., ecology and human blood genetics) I want to say something briefly about actually doing science.

 

There is one important fact about modern science that needs to be mentioned. We now realize that an experiment cannot be performed without the experimenter having an effect in some way on the experimental outcome. Subject and object cannot be separated. At the biological level it is not possible to study a living organism without interfering with its environment. At the measurement level the theory of relativity tells us that even so-called fixed quantities like time, matter, and size all depend on the framework of the observer