Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reality Check

I've spent a lot of time lately on one of my favorite themes: the future of humanity, and what my admittedly simplistic mathematical models say about it. My recent examination of how those models apply to the future of other species has been especially enlightening – and controversial – although I see its convergence with emerging scientific understanding (particularly relating to global climate change) as a sign that my reasoning doesn't necessarily match that of, as one critic put it, a “crackpot.” I've never (intentionally) portrayed my work on these issues and elsewhere in my blogs as anything but an attempt to make sense out of the world in my own way, sharing what I've learned so that others might find something of value to their lives, and perhaps ask a few more questions (and seek a few more answers) in the process.

That said, there is a considerable amount of verifiable fact mixed into my speculations, mainly because I intentionally want my world view to reflect reality as much as possible (for fiction, you can check out my Art page). My research, in all its gory mathematical detail (including references), is laid out on my Bigpicexplorer Web site. Note that much of it is based on “curve-fits,” mathematical descriptions of data that suggest relationships between variables. I've attempted to tease out what's real and what's an artifact of the analyses, both on the site and in my blogs, in some cases testing the reasoning by putting it into a narrative along with related facts to see if it made sense (and hopefully elicit some helpful comments from readers if it didn't make sense to them). Readers are effectively witnessing the evolution of a theory in these cases, beginning with observation, developing hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses against other knowledge and new data.

Because what I do isn't pure science, I've also exercised my prerogative as a writer to explore the possible implications of things found during the process, often suggesting avenues for future investigation or speculation. I haven't been afraid to address philosophy, values, faith, economics, politics, and anything else that interests me (which is a lot), much of which can't be tested to even the modest level of rigor I've applied to my research. I intend to continue doing so, because these are much of what makes the rest relevant to our subjective experience of life.

Note that I started Brad's Pithy Comments, the Land of Conscience blog, and the Comment of the Day (which now is more like, “This is what last pissed me off about the news,”) to divert my more subjective commentary away from the serious observations and speculation I want to reserve for Bigpicexplorer and the Idea Explorer blog. Spillover between the blogs and related communications has been perhaps unavoidable (such as my growing, and to some, irritating use of the term “planet killer”), mainly because most of my discussion is motivated by my developing value system. For example, if our collective actions are driving other species extinct, an action I perceive as far more heinous than genocide, and I happen to be describing the destruction of ecosystems in scientific terms, I won't be afraid to comment about how I feel about it – and why.

Now, back to the fun stuff.

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