There seems to be a mathematical leaning on the archive today.

Here is another from a series of cartoons on xkcd. Several have already been used on the archive. Here is another I couldn’t resist. There are still several others I may weaken on as well.


Under the influence of love, the average man becomes inarticulate and cannot understand what is happening.

Poets may become verbose yet they too, under the influence of love, lose their understanding.

3 responses to “Useless

  1. Hi Archie, it’s me again 🙂

    One of our teachers in Complex Systems Summer School (sponsored by Santa Fe Institute and the Institute of Theoretical Physics in China) promoted xkcd. i saw that exact strip last month. Profound huh? 🙂

    Can we integrate love? Get its square root?

    Can we integrate God? Get His square root?

    We were discussing over on my blog about “nothing to disprove the existence of” God and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. Does that mean, though, that God isn’t real?

    This comic says it all: “My normal approach is useless here.”

    And (sorry for quoting you endlessly before commenting) you follow up with: “Under the influence of love, the average man becomes inarticulate and cannot understand what is happening. Poets may become verbose yet they too, under the influence of love, lose their understanding.”

    Yes sir, i’m in love 🙂 But it’s like being in love with the school geek: i’m starting to understand him, but the more i know him the more i find out that i don’t know that much. good thing he teaches me every now and then.

    i can claim that i hear God and that He directs my life, but can i prove it scientifically? Maybe not utterly, completely convincingly so. (And this is exactly why i did not mention it in my comment before even if i hold it as absolute truth. We hold two different “absolute truths” which might leave us with just an “is not! is too!” endless argument, so i looked instead for common ground for discussion.)

    But there are a lot of things in our daily life where the scientific method, quantification, or measurement do not apply: music and literature, emotions and relationships, public opinion and culture. (These are by the way what makes a lot of systems “complex”: they can’t be defined by one equation, but we want and hope to understand them nonetheless.)

    Maybe in the future there will be more defined ways of proving or disproving God’s existence. (As a Christian scientist, i would say, bring it on! But I’m sure both creationists and evolutionists want to settle this once and for all.)

    If i think of friend A, and tell you that i’m friends with A, who is someone you have never met before (maybe you’ve heard of A here and there but haven’t actually talked), then i would completely understand if you don’t completely believe me. Especially if i don’t have photographs, voice recordings, and other paraphernalia with me.

    As a Christian, i have encountered God in much the same way that my other friendships were formed (sans divine powers and so on). But as a scientist, my “usual approach” to proof might be as useless as in xkcd.


  2. We can measure the effect of the feeling we call love, Teci. We can see the activity it sparks in the brain. In some cases we can see the effects of brain damage on the emotional states of those unfortunates who can no longer experience what we call love.

    But even if we could not observe these things, we would use the word “love” to describe a common experience, a universal experience–which differs hugely from person to person, yet is sufficiently alike that we can use a single word to describe what we feel to someone else.

    My experience of “god” is a null value. Yours is apparently profound. We cannot find a single word to describe this experience for both of us.

    You claim you can “scientifically” prove the existence of god. But “not utterly, convincingly so”. What standard of proof are you using? I keep asking believers to produce something convincing, but I get no scientific answer, only truthiness. And that’s fine, but don’t ask me to believe it, nor to moderate public policy based on faith.

    Music, public opinion and the like are definable, measurable, and testable. God is none of the above. Love is a common, universal experience among the vast majority of humans. God is apparently reserved to those who believe in him/her/it in the first place.

    If you show me photos of your friend A, I may believe you know A. If you tell me about your all-powerful friend A, whom I cannot see, will never meet until I die, and who directs my affairs and thoughts without even my realizing it, I might surely be justified in a little skepticism, no?


  3. Pingback: More on who died in a blogging accident « MikeFitz with overflow bit set…

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