Thursday, 14 May 2009

thinking: There is no certainty in Nature, is there? (part 2)


Read part 1 first

Tami sent me the following comment re part 1 of this post:

"Nick, is uncertainty really Nature's way or is it that humans project their expectations into the way they perceive Nature to react? Seriously, as I reflect back over my life and compare how Nature has reacted to human impact I think it is quite certain how Nature reacts. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction - it is a law of physics and as such, a law of Nature. Hence, the more humans impact Nature, the more violent the reaction. Look at the intensities of natural phenomenon (typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, tides, etc.) - the changes in the intensities have been predictable in direct relation to human impact on Nature."

One of the stimuli for this analysis has been a quote I read some months ago by the well known pioneer Amelia Earhart. Whereas I in general I agree that Nature has laws, laws of Physics, Chemistry and other "Natural Sciences" (as opposed to "Social Sciences"), those laws, when taken as a whole, do not provide us with a certain - sure thing prediction. A good example is Meteorology. In spite of its advances, it can still not predict 100% the weather.

Of course human impact on this planet produces a counter-impact and whereas I am a "believer" in the dangers of global warming, it is my opinion that while we know that it does cause major instabilities and changes to our planet's climate. we cannot predict what those effects will actually be, because in spite of having and being aware of "laws" in Nature, its complexity is such that no law or set of laws can provide us with certainty.

What is more, the point of view of my "analysis" is not humanity in general, but the individual person. The effects of natural phenomena on individual people are much harder to predict than the effects to humanity as a whole.

What I am saying is that a human being faced with Nature and world in general, and the impact of all "laws", Natural or Social on him/her (I would not call Social laws "laws", though, but, rather, "theories").

Of course the absence of certainty and the presence of risks of various kinds does not mean that a person should not "endeavor" or "live", but that a person should "build" his/her "life" and./or decisions or hopes on a concept of certainty.

At the same time, it is of course important, IMO again, for one not to exaggerate or over-estimate risks (exaggeration of a risk = "phobia").

In other words, between having 100% and zero control over our lives, there are many situations in between (that 100% and 0%).

1 comment:

  1. But is prediction a certainty or an extrapolation of the facts as someone interprets them?

    There is only one certainty in our existence that we can all depend on,yet fail to escape from - that certainty is death.

    As far as the effects on the individual person, is not the determination of the impact's severity or lack of based on each individual's perception of what their reality is?

    For some, the havoc wreaked by a natural phenomenon or disaster will be viewed as the will of God that they survived and they lift up their lives to celebrate what they have left and not what they have lost.

    For others, they turn to despair, seeking an answer to 'why me?'...

    I agree, prediction of the impact on the individual is harder to factualize than that of societal impact.

    However, IMO, the individual can't help but be influenced by how society perceives the impact to effect humanity as a whole and, thus, turn that inward towards their own decision of how the impact affected them.

    So far as a person basing their decision on living their life or endeavoring to live it while basing their decisions on a concept of certainty - IMO, that is setting yourself up to fail. There are no guarantees with certainty as the reward.

    In journeying their life's paths, an individual strives to control the path they chose to achieve what may be unattainable, only to find that the only true control they possess is that of acceptance or denial.

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