Originally posted by symmetricAvenger
reply to post by Xtraeme
how did the blind men know it was an elephant if they was blind?
It's not altogether uncommon to label things we can't tangibly sense. For instance: electrons, quarks, pi, air, et cetera.
To label something and know it exists doesn't require physically touching, smelling, seeing, or tasting it. I'm particularly fond of this quote:
"Mathematics seems to endow one with something like a new sense." — Charles Darwin
For instance lets pretend a blind person (who we'll call Bob) knows what a toothbrush is, but knows it by different characteristics from a person
with normal vision (who we'll call Jane).
The word "toothbrush" is just a shared term to relate a concept. If Bob is say Jane's older brother he might tell her, "use this to clean your
teeth." Jane would make the mental association with the smell, sight
, sound & feeling of the object. Whereas Bob, will have a different mental
picture based off the smell, sound & feeling of the toothbrush.
So the way the toothbrush is internalized in the head of the two individuals is slightly different, but the abstract notion of what it represents is
The same applies for things that aren't fully known. For instance in an ancient Greece the concept of "aether" represented the idea of "material
that fills the region of the Universe above the terrestrial sphere."
They had an incomplete picture of what was "above the terrestrial sphere," but they knew it represented something so they gave it a name. Thankfully
with scientific advancement came new technology and we've since broken down the concept of aether in to many sub-concepts including planets, moons,
stars, comets, space dust, pulsars, free space, etc.
for to ask the question as the blind men did would require faith and trust in his fellow human "or blind person"
Not so. For instance, think back to your old high-school or college lab experiments. Early physics class's often discuss the concept of friction.
Friction is intangible. It's only knowable through the interaction of two physical objects. To demonstrate its existence a teacher might place a
brick on an incline plane and let it slowly inch towards the base. On another identical inclined plane the instructor would simultaneously drop an
ice-cube to show the difference in acceleration.
The same is true with our example of Bob and Jane. Jane knows a "toothbrush cleans her teeth" because she tried it and it worked.
What I'm describing here with the concept of UFOs, that I presented in the OP, is a new scientific process.
Rather than trusting just anecdotal testimony, instead I'm proposing using a software and hardware solution (i.e. portable hand-held devices), to
automatically perform the identification of the object and in the event the software / hardware fails, notifying other people in the vicinity so they
can help with the identification, employing their own devices to assist with identification.
Making the identification or lack of identification scientifically rigorous.
but yet to find an elephant while being blind would be a task would it not?
About as hard as it is to locate quantum particles.
It requires knowing enough of the properties of the still somewhat-unclear-phenomenon, such that you know how to induce or increase the odds of the
In the event the phenomenon is transient, the tool described above has the ability to pull in as much information as possible to attempt to identify
it based on known characteristics.
Whatever falls outside of that list has the potential to be a new unknown or an old unknown including a newly located property.
the elephant is the universe and the blind man is the human race
Stating it like that makes it sound like you're a nihilist.
I agree with the statement in the sense that the elephant is everything that's left in the universe that is a "true unknown"
These "true unknowns" are worth further study and categorization, so we can reliably identify their characteristics causing "true unknowns" to go
from `unknown unknowns` to `known unknowns` and eventually `known knowns.`
[edit on 1-7-2009 by Xtraeme]