Immediately following our oh-so-lovely shower, Kate suggested that I perhaps start at the beginning.
Chapter One, Page One
What is Science? As I currently understand it, science is about figuring out. About explaining.
We see something, we naturally want to know what it is, where it came from, where it’s going, and how it affects us in its passing. Science is about answering these questions.
My darling Kate has been quite adamant about the idea that science is not about knowing, per se. It’s more about understanding better. She’s been educating me on the difference between a theory (as used by the general public), a Theory (as used by science), and a fact.
theory – guess
Theory – expanation of something observed, back up by facts, subject to change as more accurate facts appear or are discovered
fact – 2+2=4. 2+2=4 is true today, it was true yesterday, and it will be true ten thousand years from now
For an example:
Observation – There is a Snuffleupagus in our driveway.
fact – All previously observed Snuffleupagi have been either in or from Snuffleupagusland.
theory – The Snuffleupagus came from Snuffleupagusland.
hypothesis – The Snuffleupagus in our driveway appears to be similar to all other previously observed Snuffleupagi, and therefore may have come from Snuffleupagusland. Further observation and/or testing is necessary to confirm or refute this.
Testing phase – where we attempt to confirm or refute our hypothesis. We could start by asking the Snuffleupagus where he’s from. His answer is that indeed, he flew on a C-141 Starlifter straight from Snuffleupagusland International Airport to Albert J. Ellis airport in Jacksonville, NC.
Theory – As all previously observed Snuffleupagi have been either in or from Snuffleupagusland, the Snuffleupagus himself gives us compelling support for our hypothesis, and no current information contradicts our hypothesis, we can say for the moment that the Snuffleupagus probably originated in Snuffleupagusland, but future observations may cause us to alter or abandon this theory.
Sometime later, we travel to Albert J. Ellis airport for a flight to Cancun, Mexico for some nude sunbathing. When we enter the airport and talk to Isabel, the lady behind the counter (who is very sexy, and has great hair), she chuckles. “Take a look out the window at that inky dinky runway. We only fly to Charlotte NC and back in little teeny tiny planes. We have one small jet that makes a shuttle run to Philadelphia International once a week, but that’s all we can handle with our inky dinky runway.”
Thinking back to the Snuffleupagus, we of course ask the question…
“What about the C-141 back and forth to Snuffleupagusland?”
In a fit of uproarious laughter, Isabel shows us a picture of a C-141 Starlifter. “First of all,” says she, “a C-141 Starlifter is a military jet. It would have no business at a civilian airport. Second of all, look how big that sucker is. Our runway isn’t even wide enough for something like that to taxi, let alone long enough for it to execute a takeoff or landing.”
Our next hypothesis and investigation may involve Snuffleupagi and honesty, but for now, let’s go back and re-visit our original theory.
We now have reason to suspect a problem with our “Theory on the Origins of the Snuffleupagus in Our Driveway”. We won’t throw it out just yet, but we need to go back and investigate the discrepancy.
Did Isabel lie? Did Mr. Snuffleupagus? Did we perhaps misunderstand Mr. Snuffleupagus’ testimony? Is Mr. Snuffleupagus really a Snuffleupagus? Could he be an abnormally large anteater impersonating a Snuffleupagus? Perhaps Mr. Snuffleupagus is a different, rare species of Snuffleupagus, the heretofore only rumored Small Penis Forked Tongue Snuffleupagus, snuffleupagus javisonadus.
We need to go back and do more research. After Cancun, of course. And a private drink or two at Isabel’s apartment.
How am I doing so far?