Back To the Old Drawing Board

Over the transom today from our commenter Henry: an article about the failure of nature to deliver the heavy particles that physicists have been predicting for decades.

One possible explanation: perhaps the world is simply odder than we can imagine.

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8 Comments

  1. Bill says

    As a former practicing scientist with a strong strain of iconoclasm, this is quite amusing. Perhaps it will provide a bit of humility to the hubris of the physicists.

    Posted August 10, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  2. Bill,

    Another bit of humility will annihilate my hubris and produce a pair of brass balls :)

    Posted August 10, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  3. Bluefin Tuna says

    Perhaps it will provide a bit of humility to the hubris of the physicists.

    To hear some physicists speak boldly and dogmatically about dark matter, you’d think they had a jar full of it on a shelf back in the lab. Rarely do they add, “We’ve never actually obtained or produced any dark matter directly, but we’re pretty sure it must exist somewhere because our equations describing the universe don’t make sense without it“. One observes in some physicists a tendency to confuse highly probable hypotheses with indisputable facts.

    One possible explanation: perhaps the world is simply odder than we can imagine.

    As G.K. Chesterton said:

    “The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait. I give one coarse instance of what I mean. Suppose some mathematical creature from the moon were to reckon up the human body; he would at once see that the essential thing about it was that it was duplicate. A man is two men, he on the right exactly resembling him on the left. Having noted that there was an arm on the right and one on the left, a leg on the right and one on the left, he might go further and still find on each side the same number of fingers, the same number of toes, twin eyes, twin ears, twin nostrils, and even twin lobes of the brain. At last he would take it as a law; and then, where he found a heart on one side, would deduce that there was another heart on the other. And just then, where he most felt he was right, he would be wrong. It is this silent swerving from accuracy by an inch that is the uncanny element in everything. It seems a sort of secret treason in the universe.

    Posted August 10, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink
  4. BT,

    One observes in some physicists a tendency to confuse highly probable hypotheses with indisputable facts.

    It is an indisputable fact that most (if not all) fraternities have their ass-holes, but (I assert) it is highly probable that most fraternity members aren’t.

    As Big Al said:

    “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.”

    Is this Bash-a-Physicist Wednesday? Have mercy; for we are in mourning :)

    Posted August 10, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  5. Odder, evener, what difference does it make at this point?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:24 pm | Permalink
  6. HJH,

    The response to that question depends on who’s asking. Since I consider you a friend, I will not give you my standard response.

    One must cling to one’s friends, never tell them to engage in impossible or taboo intercourse, and always wish them good health and longevity.

    Posted August 11, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
  7. Thanks, TBH. I wish the same for you.

    (Just in case I was too obscure about “odder” and “evener,” I was referring to the universe, which, oddly enough, seems to have been fine-tuned against all odds, even so fine tuned as to offer the possibility of design, in which case “odder” or “evener” make all the difference now. . . oh, and I was also parodying HRC.)

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted August 11, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
  8. HJH,

    I, of course, got the parody but not the odder thing. Thanks for the explanation.

    Posted August 12, 2016 at 12:50 am | Permalink