Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thinkism and Doism

I can't take credit for the terms - but I like them. I came across the terms on a website devoted to the Singularity (which I suppose I'll have to talk about sometime). A more common and possibly better phrase of the two methods would be Theory and Practice.  

Now, the reason I bring this up is my last post kind of covered this. Imagining how something would be as opposed to actually doing it. And it is interesting how theoretical speculation - no matter how well informed - seems to fall far short of the mark as opposed to practice. Experience really does make all the difference. The unknown becomes known.

Take glassblowing in space. It presupposes that people already actually know how to live in space. The experience of actually living in space turned out to be completely the opposite of what people expected. Take, for example, human health. It was assumed by doctors and biologists that life in orbit would be quite beneficial. Without the stresses and strains afflicted by living in gravity, they supposed that the human body would have an easy time of it. That life out there might actually be life prolonging. Well, it turned out not to be the case. Without gravity, bones and muscles deteriorated at an alarming rate. So much so that even just a few days in orbit turned people into old men and women. Weakened hearts, arteries, bones, were what occurred, contrary to theory.

Or take another example. Futurism. As in the study and projection of conjectures into the future. Generally, futurists will use current situations, technology, knowledge and push those into the future, commonly called trendism. It is almost invariably wrong. No one expects the unexpected. Or as my brother put it once, "Not a single Futurist ever predicted a blue pill that would give you a stiffy".

The way I look at it, philosophy is Thinkism. Science is Doism. Or, within the realm of physics, theoreticians are Thinkists, experimentalists are Doists. I suppose Thinkists have their place in the world, limited though it may be. But I guess I am firmly in the camp of the Doists.

Although it is fun to speculate. And informed speculation even funner. 

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