Re: Odds and Ends

From: Alex Ferguson <>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 19:00:14 +0100 (BST)

Graham Robinson:
> In order to perform experiments you need to have developed a model of
> reality that is not dependent on whim - this is the so-called
> Reproducibility Axiom. Any universe that contains demonstratably powerful
> dieties automatically fails this. If the results of your experiment depend
> on whether Orlanth is in a good mood or not, it ain't what we recognise as
> scientist.

Well, as you later imply, a genuinely sound experiment would have to include "the Gods" in some sense, or whatever one's "model" of the otherworld is. A lot of inappropriately reductionist thinking is of this general sort; exclude part of the domain from consideration, then apply rigorous reductionism to the rest of it, and then complain bitterly about one's lack of success, fudge the results, or attempt to apply them outside their established scope. Hence Genetic Determinism, and come to that, several other flavours of Determinism.

> The pseudo-scientists of Glorantha - Godlearners, RQ sorcerors, etc. - are
> just that. They fit the fantasy mold of mad scientist fine, but aren't
> anywhere close to the real meaning of the word.

I have to entirely disagree. Mad scientists are hardly a fantasy: one needs to work hard to avoid to avoid Richard Dawkins on the telly and in the Sunday supplements... (There really ought to be a Chair in Dawkins Understanding of the Public, you know, which is at least as underdeveloped a field.) OK, mildly crazed, at least. The common thread is excessive or inappropriate application of reductionistic thinking.

End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #51

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