11/21/12 6MTook a brief ride on the Montour Trail. The days before Thanksgiving generally remind me of Karl Popper's turkey and his response to the problem of induction. (I also think of Karl Popper when I see financial advertisements and the weasel tagline, Past performance may not indicate future results).
In our experience, events happen and we believe we discern causes, and we convince each other that the causes are creating the result, and we think we have this little bit of Creation figured out — until something shows us we were wrong.
Karl Popper told the story of the farmer's Turkey. Through August, September, into October the noon churchbell rings in the distant town, the farmer arrives and feeds the turkey grain and corn and man, it is good to be the turkey.
The turkey considers his experience and concludes, DistantNoise causes man to feed me. The turkey does a bit of reasearch and writes up an academic paper, Trickle Down Economic Benefits of Pavlovian-Trained Farmers. He submits his paper to the prestigious TurkeyJournal, his peers approve, and he becomes Dr. Thomas Turkey PhD for having expanded his species' body of knowledge.
Late October, early November, every day the churchbell rings, everyday the farmer arrives, and every day Dr. Thomas Turkey PhD is living the dream.
Nov.20 the bell rings, the farmer arrives and decapitates the turkey for his family's upcoming feast.
Karl Popper used that story to illustrate falsifiability: you really can't prove any theory, you can only disprove a theory. Secondarily, when you think you've got it figured out, complacency and hubris may leave one less likely to escape the Revelation of broader truth2.0.
Anyway. I met S. on the Montour Trail intended to go out to Burgettstown and eat sweet potato fries at Walden's, and a few miles into the ride I was just fat and happy and living the dream, just like Dr. Tom Turkey PhD and my phone rang.
One of my websites had the backend exposed on Black Wednesday because some Goober (initials V.B.) left a wrong file in place, stoopid thing to do. I had to abandon the ride, leave S. to enjoy sweet potato fries on her own, and reverse and hammer to the car while reflecting on the very miniscule differences between me and Karl Popper's turkey. The difference is, the turkey got his PhD. Fortunately, no damage or loss to the client.
It can be very hard to tell the difference between the life of the fatted calf and living the dream, because up until the last moment they are eerily similar.