A vignette on a scrap of paper

Wed 18 Sep 2013 12:31 PM

"Look at this," the Professor says.

He presses a button on his great machine, which begins to sputter and shake. Sparks jump from wire to wire. Two or three colors of smoke come from different parts of it. Something that looks like it might be a capacitor explodes, making you jump.

The professor looks at you expectantly.

"Convinced?" he asks. "You were surprised, but I was not. So we can conclude that your theory was false and mine was true."

Just then, the fire alarm begins, and the sprinklers drench you both.

I was looking through some old files recently. In a folder of documents about the No-Miracles Argument for scientific realism, old notes were tucked in among marked-up photocopies. I found this scribbled item, which might have been written in June 2003.