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Just So stories and science
Dear Dinosaur Listers:
A while back there was a discussion about "just so" stories and their
place in scientific discourse and reasoning.
I have just encountered a thought-provoking passage in John Gribbin's
"Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality." This is a popularization
of current thought about quantum physics and relativity. John Gribbin, with a
Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Cambridge, was a Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at
the University of Sussex while he prepared this book. On page 222 he writes,
" . . . All scientific models are simply Kiplingesque 'just so' stories
that give us a feeling that we understand what is going on, without
necessarily incorporating any ultimate answers about the universe."
Granted that Gribbin is working with subatomic particles and energies,
while dinosaur science is blessed with physical remains and solid rock
matrices. Still, many students of dinosaurs are fascinated with possible
behaviors and the operations of animal bodies long since dead and decayed.
Perhaps there is a place for "stories that give us a feeling that we
understand what is going on."
Peace and grace,
Bill Olewiler, OSL
United Methodist pastor
"And all manner of things shall be well"
-- Julian of Norwich
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