July 13th, 2002

happytoast power lines

thoughts on the mystical order of the universe

Most of this is inspired by this post, but it hearkens back to an earlier question which has put much of what I believe about the story of science in question. Note- I am a scientist, with real(tm) scientific credentials, so I hate to be challenged unless there is something interesting being said. My question is fairly simply worded- how is it that the world was ever thought of as flat, or that the earth was the center of the universe? I've pondered this question at length, and still do not have a very good answer. Here within, however, I want to answer an important observation about aristotelian cosmology.

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The existence of gravity is unproven- you cannot prove anything (I speak from the philosophical position of Karl Popper). You can only create a mathematical simplification or explanation of a system which convincingly lets you make predictions of the future. The great minds of astronomy were not heretics because they defied biblical truth, but because they presented a mystical ability- that of being able to predict the motions of the planets with some accuracy- which was reserved only to the gods. But quantum cosmology aside, and Newton aside, and the great minds of astronomy aside, and even Aristotle aside, there is a sphere of the moon. There are two spheres of the moon- its rotation about the earth creating tides and months, and the rotation of the earth moon system about the sun, which creates a spherical space greater than the path of the earth. The sphere of the moon is a probability space in which the moon, on any given day in the course of millennia, can be in a round path around the sun. That we can predict where it will be is not knowledge, because another star, or a black hole, or a fat-ass alien mothership can change the prediction in a matter of days, years, or millennia in ways our current equations aren't configured to handle. Does that make them wrong- YES!, all science is wrong. science is not knowledge, it's about making extremely uncanny predictions.

Also clear is that the motion of the earth and sun in the milky way, the planets set against the background of stars, depends somewhat on those stars being fixed points. Any idiot with a computer today can compute which planet is in which house. The sun has always been observed to move slowly backward through the signs, which is why we are in the age of aquarius and wll be for a good long time. But we also 'know' that the stars are moving as well. Many eons from now, the constellations will look nothing like the current constellations, and a black hole or a second star might zoom through our path and all bets are off. All knowledge is backwards seeking, and the immutability of the coincidence of the past. Why does astrology, or even science work- because it does, for now. Tomorrow all bets are off. How can mysticism prepare you for that?

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