It’s not really a secret that I fall on the science side for “understanding the universe” theories. I also think scientific experimentation and theories, and all that jazz is a good thing.

Someone I know linked an article about the Large Hadron Collider (BBC News Article). One of the scientist against the project apparently borught up a fundamental question that I think is interesting.

How improbable does a cataclysm have to be to warrant proceeding with an experiment?

There’s a conversation in the Lost Room that I like. I’ll probably edit this to have the exact quote when I get home, but it ends something like this:

Joe: But what if you’re wrong?
Karl: Well, everyone will be dead so it doesn’t matter.

I don’t know much about the LHC, so I can’t comment on its ability to destroy the world. But trying to figure out where the line is on a risk with that potential is something that intrigues me.

/ponders more

One Reply to “Musing”

  1. Kinda long (sorry!)

    To answer your question in a round about way (bear with me, it’s applicable), the one question you can expect at a candidacy/defense is “You’re up in Fort Mac in a bar with a bunch of drunk rig pigs (no one ever explains WHY I’d be there!) and they demand to know why their taxes should fund your research. What do you say to them?” Now, my work is more pure than applied science (in other words, I is not going to be making spin off companies and patenting stuff I’ve developed). Often, this type of research is harder to “defend” to the drunk rig pigs. So here’s my answer. . . When an apple dropped on Newton’s head and he came up with Newtonian physics, he didn’t know that the eventual end result of his science would create the bomb that ended WW2 in the Pacific (and generates power to heat homes, but that’s not as Wow factor). The applied research that’s being done today is only being done because someone sat down and did the non-applied research that allowed for the application. So. . . how improbably does a cataclysm have to be to warrant proceeding with an experiment? I’d say the improbability doesn’t matter. Who knows what unexpected things we might learn about our universe because we did the experiment?

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