Monday, March 10, 2008

Am I Certain?


Every measurement or observation carries with it uncertainty. If we require unequivocal certainty to make a decision about anything, we simply wouldn’t make any decisions.

Am I certain about that? Smiles, of course not.

Uncertainty is okay though. We can be certain about uncertainty.

In the late twenties and thirties much of the development in physics was lead and influenced by German institutions. It was an uncertain period of time where colleagues are friends one day and then sworn enemy the next day.

"The more precisely the POSITION is determined, the less precisely the MOMENTUM is known" WERNER HEISENBERG (1901 - 1976).

And no one will ever be certain of Heisenberg’s motives or intentions during the war. Perhaps his motivation was merely to survive.

In more recent times Colin Powell, I believe had good intentions. Mr Powell was unique in the sense that there was a high degree of confidence worldwide in his character as a man who spoke the truth compared to any other member of the Bush administration. He was given evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Likely a trusting man that couldn’t imagine that evidence was being manufactured for him to present to the UN. He was certain he was presenting credible information.

Perhaps the next US administration could be kinder if they are less certain and self-righteous. A scientist, a theologian, a politician or a reporter would have a greater degree of credibility if they expressed more doubts.

We don’t require certainty to make a decision. In that regards we would look at potential outcomes of decisions in terms of prediction and probabilities. Our concerns about the probabilities should contemplate whether an action would cause more harm than good.

Any planned action that may cause harm to people or to the planet lacks credibility.

4 comments:

X said...

interesting, BB...

some things i am certain about... those i love.

Larry Keiler said...

Larry is not certain whether he agrees with you about Colin Powell. In fact, Larry thinks Colin Powell knew full well that he was shovelling a load of tripe at the UN. Which is why he is no longer a player. He threw away his chance at the Presidency when he agreed to be the front man.

Now he looks at Barack Obama and thinks, "I coulda been a contender..."

Larry says thank you for the note about the Heisenberg principle cuz he never knew what it was before.

And he wonders about the uncertainty of nuclear physics at Chalk River.

bobby bacon said...

Well like Heisenberg who will ever know what Colin's true intentions were.

However Heisenberg would have expressed certainity in the development at Chalk River. According to many he was certain about the peaceful use of nuclear power.

It is too soon to tell. The development coal, oil and gas over the centruries has had much more negative impact on health, illness and the environment to date than has Nuclear Energy.

Then we may jump to hydrogen.

Anonymous said...

It's a tangled web, isn't it? I am rather convinced that people with the best intentions, reaching the top layer of politics, stop having choices. Of course we always have a choice. But how easy are they to make when either outcome sucks? Good intentions to be of help in improving life for all, almost certain, in the case of a president or leader of sorts, ends in assassination, or being scandaled away.

Bad choices for ordinairy folks, leading to more poverty, starvation, bad health, have to be talked away from the high platform. Try to make it look good.

Then of course one can choose not to be involved that way, not to try. What does that accomplish to make better ideas work?

What powers are behind Bushes, Powels, Heisenbergs...?

And there are the cases of people only choosing for their own good, right now, grasping for power, personal comfort, never mind the other guy.

They seem to be the ones that can be used by the powers 'behind'.

Who gains?

No one can be certain. Can evil be eradicated, or will it always be? Are the myths and fairy tales right about evil never dying?. It can be made to rest with the power of Love. Stop being decerning, (sp?) stop being honest, and evil awakens again.

Me too certain about who and what I love.

wild thing