Friday, November 14, 2008

Unprincipled Certainty

The Unprincipled Certainty
A Political Science Theory Postulated by Mason Williams
The Uncertainty Principle:
Heisenberg’s "The Uncertainty Principle" is a scientific theory of quantum mechanics that states:
"The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa." --Heisenberg, uncertainty paper, 1927
As I understand it, this translates as; in the process of examining something, you change the nature of the subject you’re scrutinizing. In other words, you alter the nature of something in the act of examining it.

Applying the principle to water, though it seems like water is water, you can’t observe or analyze moving water by stopping it to "understand" it. Moving water has a different ecology than still water. Motion is an integral part of its content, just as standing is an integral part of still water.

As expressed in a scene from the Coen Brothers film, The Man Who Wasn’t There:
LAWYER: (Freddy Riedenschneider)
…This guy in Germany… he’s got this theory.
If you want to test something scientifically, …you gotta look at it, but sometimes when you look at it, your looking changes it. The Uncertainty Principle, sounds screwy, but even Einstein says this guy Heisenberg’s onto something.

The Unprincipled Certainty
My theory, The Unprincipled Certainty, is a political science concept that states:
"The more imprecisely a position is determined, the more precisely you’re going to get away with it." --Williams, unprincipled paper, 2003
It is based on the assumption that by not looking at what politicians are doing, they will not change. This is particularly applicable to the leadership of the Bush Administration.
Simply put, it means that their politically unprincipled position toward science is a certainty.
A good example of this is the war in Iraq. Why we’re really there has never been precisely stated and therefore the future outcome is precisely unknown.

One could apply The Unprincipled Certainty to the deregulation of the financial sector. The more "hands-off" the political position was, the more corrupt the financial market became.

The Unprincipled Certainty relates to politics in a different way than The Uncertainty Principle relates to science. Whereas The Uncertainty Principle is a theory, possibly leading to fact, which has the support of the scientific community, The Unprincipled Certainty is a fact leading to a possible theory, a derivative of political non-support for science in the realm of squat-dumb mechanics.

1 comment:

Ananiah said...

I do believe you are correct here. In listening to many politicians, Obama in particular, most of them define a position boldly and sneak in a disclaimer at the end. Take for example the phrase from the stump speeches supporting the so-called stimulus package, "it will create or save 4 million jobs." This is impossible to quantify. As long as 4 million people are still employed at the end of Obama's first term, he would have fulfilled his imprecise promise. Most people will only hear "create.....jobs" and dumbly support it without really taking the time to read the bill itself or even read very much commentary about it.

Unfortunately, economics is something that isn't taught with any depth or practical application in our society. The vast majority of people are left believing the "experts", who tend to be self-defined as "experts" (Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Jim Cramer, anyone who hosts a cable talk-show, any politician of which most are lawyers and not accountants or economists, et al) and believe either one of two extremes; which is that economics is a matter of opinion where all opinions are equally valid, or that economics is a subject beyond the common person that only people in government can untangle. Neither is the case and our society is suffering for it.

You made the point that the people are smart enough to weed out truth from the lies in the media. Unfortunately for society, the people are neither smart nor stupid - worse - they are lazy.