Scientific Thinking LO21923

John Gunkler (
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 09:31:41 -0500

Replying to LO21909 --


I don't see the Gem Detector working as you describe it. The way you
describe it, the Gem Detector is just the other side of the sieve called
the Crap Detector.

I believe At agrees with me (he'll tell us if not) that, at the stage when
the Gem Detector is appropriate, you are not sieving anything. Perhaps,
when we talk about the Gem Detector, we should be clearer about what we're
doing. To my mind, at this observation/discovery/divergent thinking stage
what we're doing is trying to open our selves (our minds, our processes)
to the "possibilities of gems." To discover potential sources of gems.
To widen our "net" so as to capture the gems that are out there. We're
not actually picking up a single gem and saying, "Look what my Gem
Detector found!" We're only gathering the material that must, later, be
sifted through. But we're trying to gather material that has an increased
likelihood of containing gems. We're forming hypotheses, not "proving"
them. We're gathering "interesting" observations (like the amazingly
detailed records of planetary motions kept by Tycho Brahe that, later,
formed the basis of Copernicus' revolutionary theory), not creating
explanatory theories. We are opening ourselves to wonder and awe, not
figuring out "what it all means."

Ironically, it is only when at the stage of using the Crap Detector that
one gets to shout, "Look at this Gem I just found!"


"John Gunkler" <>

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