You Pinheads

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollJan 31, 2011 10:39 PM


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Update: darn it, Phil beat me by minutes. Always check your RSS reader before posting something from elsewhere on the internets. Found this video yesterday morning via Swans On Tea. It was so good I had to include it in the talk I gave yesterday afternoon at the Skeptics Society. Backstory: Bill O'Reilly is very fond of using the tides as evidence that science doesn't understand everything. Apparently some pinheads tried to point out that we actually do understand that. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyHzhtARf8M[/embed] At a slightly deeper level: this is a good example of a worldview that can only imagine ultimate explanations taking the form of reference to some person -- a being, a kind of conscious agent, who does things for reasons. If you try to give explanations that simply refer to the laws of physics, they will never be satisfied. In the real world, things happen, not always for (those kind of) reasons. The laws of physics might not have any deeper explanation.

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