At 03:40 PM 6/5/2005, you wrote:
> Now, pick one:
> 1. All a Big Coincidence Proving Nothing (ABCPN)
> 2. The writer obviously was privy to state secrets
and should have been arrested.
> 3. Suggests precognition of a very strange and weird sort.
> 4. Might fit a QM many worlds model and should be investigated further.
> 5. I have no clue how to even address something like this.
> Any takers?
I'll go for 1, all a big coincidence. Firstly, it should be taken
as the default hypothesis. Second, in my opinion no reliable evidence
has ever surfaced that points to precognition, or points to a science
theory that is an elaboration of QM/GR. In fact, numerous claims of
something new are regularly debunked by skeptics, and have picked up
the name (rightly, in my opinion) of pseudo-science.
Given a set of events that are impossible to reproduce (how can the writer
re-create the basis for his story a second time?) we can only examine them
after the fact in terms of probabilities. Even if we didn't go to a
phonebook and look up the relative number of "Silards" or "Lenzes" vs the
more common names, it's fairly obvious that the probabilities of this being
a chance occurrence are on the order of one in tens of millions. Yet we
write this kind of thing off as coincidence. The example I gave, (of
course) is a real story titled "Blowups Happen" written by a real sci fi
author--Robert Heinlein. Heinlein was asked about the coincidence, and he
said he had no idea where he got the names or the idea. The story itself
was *was* written in 1939---many years before the Manhattan District
Project was even considered by anyone--and before Szilard began work on
nukes and before Kistiakowski began work on his "lenses."
Most who have written about this focus on the fact that the story is about
a "uranium bomb" at a site in the "Arizona desert." But when one gets into
the minutiae is where it gets truly weird. Neither Heinlein in 1939-- nor
most journalists who wrote about the coincidences since then--- were aware
of the explosive lens issue, nor were they aware that most fission nukes
have beryllium neutron reflectors. I'll suspect Heinlein chose the name
Korzybski from a semi-famous semanticist from the 1920s and 30s named
Alfred Korzybski. But to me, the other coincidences are just too weird to
In world war II, the FBI did question one man who published a story
involving atomic theory or atomic bombs that had some eerie similarities
to what was top secret. But they determined that it was just coincidence.
I'd be lying if I claimed to be unaffected by that report.
That would be the Clive Cartmill story "Deadline" which appeared in a 1944
issue of Astounding magazine. Actually, atomic bombs were accepted as a
possibility since HG Wells' 1914 story "The World Set Free." INMO, the
Cartmill story *is* coincidence. The Heinlein story is *truly* weird.