An example in five
is the capacity to do work" writes the textbook writer. Then, a
few chapters later, he writes, "Energy can be unavailable for doing
work." Some people sense something wrong here; some don't.
subtle is wrong. Very wrong. But this is one of those things
we must figure out for ourselves because when we are simply told, we don't
it with friends, preferably including one or two who have taken an elementary
physics course. Try to find specifically, just what is wrong?
today’s science is new in the evolutionary progress of man—a few centuries
old, at most. Most is simple. But it’s subtle. It requires
ways of looking, ways of thinking, that stretch our thought processes.
It wasn’t obvious in the days of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, and
it’s no more obvious today, even though it has catapulted us into technological
cultures undreamt of by the ancients. Most of today’s science is
simply not what it seems at first glance ,and too few people ever take
that necessary second glance.
seems to be “science” is often just "pseudo."
is almost always oversimplification. It’s infected with “Herpes simpletonisus,”
a whole zoo of “singles” … Single-minded, single cause and
single effect, single purpose, single-person subcultures (egocentrisms),
single-component measure, etc. It’s also often infected with an unskeptical
wish to believe. Science succeeds because it looks to our world,
not only to our wishes, for its information to act upon.
things can have complex causes. Schrödinger.s “precious something
contained in our food which keeps us from death” is “energy” to most of
us. Schrödinger recognized that many influences create many
possibilities of what that precious something might actually be.
He sorted through those possibilities and found that energy, as known to
science in the 20th century, isn’t particularly relevant. The key
to understanding is entropy, and the key to Schrödinger's insight
is skill at sorting the relevant from the irrelevant.
years ago, one person with unusually clear perception of the simple but
subtle concepts of modern science examined all the textbooks submitted
to teach the children of California the science they might need in their
lives. What he found was a disaster in progress. “Everything was
written by someone who didn’t know what the hell he was talking about,
…They were teaching something they didn’t understand, and which was in
Feynman in Surely You’re Joking, My Feynman, pp 262-276.)
of those textbooks were the teachers of our teachers. That disaster
is still progressing.