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ANAHITA  December 1999

ANAHITA December 1999

Subject:

Re: Heisenberg and uncertainty vs. lost information

From:

Susan Kray <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Dec 1999 15:46:09 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (50 lines)

In a message dated 12/25/99 10:35:38 PM US Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

> >  product form of his principle, quoted by someone else on this list,
earlier
>  in this discussion, is usually interpreted by physicists _not_ to say that
>  you cannot locate an atom (you can), but rather that if you locate it very
>  precisely at the moment of your observing it, you will necessarily have so
>  poor a notion of its velocity, that its position a moment later is
>  essentially unknowable. But how to translate that curious finding, into a
>  helpful analogy for social observations, is not very clear to me.


Or to me, either. I understand the temptation to trawl physics for usable
metaphors, but why not just state that it is hard to know things about the
distant past because most of the relevant evidence has been lost, what is
left is hard for people from our own culture to interpret, and the people who
experienced the phenomenon are not available for questioning....

Phyllis Bird's (1994: 31) comment has a much wider application than she gave
it: "The most important thing that we know today about women in the eastern
Mediterranean world of the second and first millennia BCE  is how little we
know."

(from "Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World: Ancient Israel." Biblical
Research. Journal of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research. XXXIX. 31-45).

She might have added, " -- or can ever know." Indeed, some information is
lost forever (and it has nothing to do with Heisenberg), and it is important
to recognize that fact.

Susan Kray

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