Daily Archives: 18/07/2011

On theodicy and humility

Einstein quote of the day: The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible. ┬áIt is indeed a wonderful and strange thing that naked apes can understand so much about the working principles of the Universe. But this may be one area in which the anthropic principle actually does operate. We have no reason to believe we can understand everything, and some reason to suspect we wouldn’t realise that we couldn’t perceive the unknown areas. Perhaps what we know of the Universe seems comprehensible only because of our incomprehension of the rest.

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Peer review problem in science fiction

For a bit of relaxation I have just re-read an old sci-fi paperback from my shelves, Isaac Asimov’s Pebble in the Sky. I was struck, for some reason, by the following passage, describing how an archaeologist of the distant future, named Arvadan, had suffered the unprecedented indignity of having his senior dissertation rejected (peremptorily) by the Journal of the Galactic Archaeological Society:

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