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Posted by Mario Dovalina on September 6, 2002 16:26:00 UTC

Hi, Aurino, hope you don't mind me invading your conversation...

"Communication can happen without science,"

What do you mean by "communication?" What do you mean by "science?" Are you sure your concepts are the same as mine? Then how can you make such a statement? :)

"What is our most successful science? I dare say it is physics. And why is physics so successful? Because, by the time we started to tackle it seriously, a very effective language already existed in which to express its theories. That language is called mathematics. If we had as powerful a language in which to express our knowledge of biology, creationism would be as popular as the Flat Earth Society. As it happens, biology is expressed in English, and that leaves room for all sorts of misinterpretations and misunderstandings, even amongst biologists themselves."

Beautifully worded. However, as nice a picture it is to imagine science as a purely mathematical enterprise, I think it is incredibly difficult to attain. We can express physics through math because we're talking about *relatively* simple causality. I throw a ball up, I know that it will decelerate at 9.81 m/s. We detect the strength of an EM field and know the strength of the source, we can determine the source's distance using the inverse square law. In fields like biology, you can't do that as easily, since the processes are exponentially more complex. I mean, try to write a mathematical formula to express the exact path natural selection will take. I fear that such a venture is beyond the limit of our small minds.

In the end, I agree that communication flaws are huge problems, but in many areas I see no way out of the woods. I disagree with you that using communication to solving communication errors is counterproductive. Some concepts are easier to get across than others, as long as both parties are willing to mentally make room for error.

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