Hoax and Reality
Jerold Touger

Suppose I am asked to pick a number from 1 to 99,999,999,999. I claim to have a 
method for getting it right on the first try despite seemingly insuperable 
odds. If I then proceed to do so, it gives my claim enormous credibility. If 
others claiming the same method likewise get it right, or pick numbers 
clustering closely around the correct one -- perhaps differing only in the last 
one or two places -- it does not in a strictly logical sense prove my claim is 
correct, but makes the case for it compelling, as our legal system would put 
it, "beyond a reasonable doubt." This, in essence, is what happens when an 
experimental measurement of the electron's magnetic moment agrees with what 
theory predicts to eleven decimal places. This outcome, as Sokal says, "would 
be utterly miraculous if quantum mechanics were not saying something at least 
approximately true about the world [and] . . . if electrons did not really 
exist in some sense or another."

CB: as our legal system would put it, "beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here we go again with a natural scientist using
the law as a heuristic.

Marxism-Thaxis mailing list
To change your options or unsubscribe go to:

Reply via email to