Everything (except subatomic particles) in our tiny solar system moves
so slowly that classical mechanics is extremely accurate.
> > What are the other levels?
> Heisenberg and Schroedinger had things to say about the quantum.
> Norbert Weiner and Benoit Mandelbrot gave us glimpses at the
> stochastic level.
What does that have to do with celestial mechanics or sustainable
agriculture? Those phenomena are too small to be very relevant.
> There's the poetic...the spiritual...the economic...the
> artistic. Spheres within spheres, eh? Galileo didn't
> deal with those. Just with the one.
I see, when you say "other levels" you really mean what people think
about, rather than the system itself. So, if I were to write a poem
about the solar system, that would be a different level than Galileo was
addressing. I can go along with that. I thought you meant something
more profound by "level."
> His views were mechanistically more accurate than other views
> of his time, but still terribly partial.
It was up to Newton to complete the picture, for practical purposes.
> For instance, I'll bet he never looked at a full moon and thanked it
> for its tidekeeping and drumming of rhythms of life on earth.
That's nice, but doing it doesn't affect the operation of the solar
system, so far as anybody can tell.
>> Do they have any consequence in the operation of the solar system?
> But to answer your question: Yes. No. Maybe. What's your frame of
> reference? Mechanistic operation of the solar system? Then
> mechanistic principles are your tool. If the frame of reference is
> mechanism, then it's unfair (and sloppy thinking) to judge other
> levels of knowing for their inability to account for or predict
You are changing vocabulary on me. By using Einsteinian jargon (even
though relativistic conditions clearly do not apply), you try to infuse
respectability into your ambiguous concept of "level". I reject the
notion that reality is parochialized into competing "frames" or
"levels". Reality is one (even if we only know a little). Further, I
reject the proposition that domains of knowledge exist which are
In a practical sense this means that if LionKuntz sells me a
"biodynamic" formulation that has been blessed by her shaman, I can put
in replicated trials and find out if it works using an F test. Finding
out why it works could be a lot harder, I admit!
See Misha, I think you (and several others on the list) are ontological
relativists. You want to reify your mental constructs rather than
immerse yourself in the simple reality of nature.
> I see that on SANET sometimes--old battles getting played out that I
> sure as sheepdip would like to see us bury and move beyond. To issues
> like figuring out how to provide food in a way that respects land and
I wish that the environmental movement could get past the romantic
relativism (having roots in mind/nature dualism) that sees traditional
agricultural science as unnatural. I don't believe that the competing
viewpoints are incommensurable. I think I understand where you are
The academic left has seized on this whole incommensurability
idea(different modes of knowledge) as a tool to drive a wedge between
the scientific community, and farmers trying to be environmentally
responsible. I think this is very unfortunate.
> Or the ongoing insistence by many members of the ag science
> Establishment that small-scale farmers are driven by heresy--no,
> wait, I meant "hearsay"--and woo-woo nonsense like the Gaia
> hypothesis and concern for social justice, community, and the spirit.
I think you are driving that wedge right now!
> But that's a discussion for another pot o' joe, companeros.
> And I think it brings us back to the front end of this entire thread,
> experiential and scientific knowledge. There's that snake again.
I thought I killed the snake! Folks, don't be fooled by the new age
"physicists." Scientific knowledge IS experiential knowledge. That
frame-of-reference stuff is just smoke and mirrors hiding a political
agenda. The political agenda is a worthy debate, but let's try not to
entangle it with the simpler reality of agricultural systems.
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