Texas Governor Ma Ferguson, est. 1924. Quoted
in All Pianos Have Keys, 1994
If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it ought
to be good enough for the children of Texas.
Quoted in New England Journal of Medicine 1994, March
Emergency room personnel believe that most people are sick, although they only see about 8% of the total population even over time. What facts they encounter en masse determines what they expect to see everywhere.
M. and I. Goldstein, "How We Know" pp 13-14
Seeing after [congenital blindness] ...(except from John Z. Young pp 163)
M. and I. Goldstein, "How We Know" pp 18-19
The [blind] patient often finds the new sense [of sight] brings only a feeling of uncertainty and [they] may refuse to make any attempt to use it unless forced to do so.
They may not spontaneously attend to the details of shapes. They have not learned the rules, do not know which features are significant and useful for naming objects and conducting life...after weks of practise, they will name simple objects by sign [but] at first they must be seen in the same light, and at the same angle.
One man having learned to name an egg, a potatoe and a cub of sugar when he saw them in [one] environment] could not name them if they were seen under yellow light [or hanging suspended]." However such people can gradually learn, if sufficiently encouraged they may after some years develop a full visual life and be able even to read.
[But our selection of facts] in large part [is] determined by some theory or preconception as to what facts are important and what facts are not. [This is the usual process, and not an exception, to hold on to a theory for a long time because ] different scientists disagreed about which facts were the important ones to explain.
There is a common view of science that it consists of collecting experimentally verifiable facts arranged in some orderly manner... a telephone book or an airline schdule is an orderely collection of facts...[neither] is a science. Science is the formulation of general statements of explanatory power from which a multitude of veriable facts can be deduced...Science does not begin with facts, it begins with a perception of a problem and the belief in the possibility of an answer."
Webmaster of MythHome, Robert O'Connell 2001
Reading English and understanding it in its subtleties are different matters. Once I was tutoring a fellow to whom English was a distant second language. I know he was very intelligent but when he saw a poster (made by a labour union according to the fine print), for an event staring May 13 of that year, with the event called MAYWORKS, he did not understand any of the puns the poster's title was playing on. By this I mean, May (as in the month and as in something possible), Works (as in a complete job done by labourers, something that functions as expected). It was a great title but not a bit of the ich meanings were gleaned by the man because English was a distantly learned language for him.
I puase when people translate a language long since spoke (say Phoenician) what subtleties are we losing since none of us speak it from birth and in the culture it was living in?
A young man walking on a long stretch of oceanside each encountered an older man who was scurrying about through the surf retrieving starfish and, with a flourish, throwing them back out into the sea. He hurried back and forth in what seemed to be a frantic activity. The young man inquired of the old man as he threw another starfish, :sir, why are you running about throwing those starfish back out to sea? There must be thousands of them and there are miles of beach in this area. What possible could it do? What difference does it make? The old man paused thoughfully as he prepared to throw another starfish and then replied, "It will make a difference to this one." And he threw it back into the sea.
Webmaster of MythHome, Robert O'Connell 1999
When I was a kid, there was a TV program called "The Man from Uncle". The two characters usually wore suits with ties. Now ten years later I, wearing a tie and jacket, happened to see a paperback book of some serialized story about "The Man From Uncle". It had a picture on the cover which was at least 10 years old. There was something subtely wrong with the picture. I could not a first place what was 'wrong'. I fingered my tie. Then I touched my lapels of my suit jacket. And then I realized what was 'wrong'. Their suits had jackets with narrow lapels than the one I was wearing (and fashionable it was too), and their ties were too narrow for those lapels, and just slightly wider than mine. If that wasn't the subtlest change in 'rightness' I was unconsciously participating in, I don't know what could be subtler. Furthermore in the 10 year span ties and lapels had changed at least three times, once so that the tie was at least as wide as my hand with the fingers spread out. It looked like I was wearing a table cloth. And everyone of these changes seemed right after a very short time.
I say "our" as if the ability was a single thing without variation. It is not a single thing, it is a collection of physical data processors the biological kind. And things vary with the individual over time, and from individual to individual (specie variation). A person's vision might be anywhere fom blind to 10/20 even.