And really, how can you look up in the sky and NOT believe in intelligent life tucked away amidst the billions of trillions of planets within the zillions of other galaxies. It's not a big stretch to imagine that there could potentially someday appear giant bird-like creatures the size of 747s who feed on combustible engines and the humans inside. Do I occasionally watch a little sci-fi, or as I call it: "creative science"? Emphatic maybe. Because it is about acknowledging possibilities. Imaginative science that subtracts a little conventional wisdom and adds a bit of magic. Or as I call it, "unexplained science."
I was talking to a tiny person* recently about dragons, and they asked me if I thought dragons were real.
I said: "Well, have you ever seen a dragon?"
"My point exactly," I said.
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean," I said, "is that you can't really prove the non-existence of something. Does that make sense?"
I asked: "Okay, have you read Nassim Nicholas Taleb's 'The Black Swan?"
"Well, there might be parts that are challenging for six-year olds, but essentially the idea is that for a long time, people didn't think there was any such thing as a black swan. But then...a black swan was sighted, thus upending centuries of commonly-accepted truth. Does that make sense?"
"It's just the simple version. I don't know if Mr. Taleb believes in dragons or not. But all I know is that I've never not seen a dragon, so I'm not satisfied that they don't exist somewhere. What about you?"
"I think they're pretend."
"Maybe they are, but can you prove it?"
"My point exactly. Shall we watch some cinema tonight?"
"Okay, how about either Horton Hears a Who or Fight Club?
"What's Fight Club?"
"It addresses themes of consumerism, male angst, and stuff like that. There's no dragons. Maybe it's not a good one for six-year olds, now that I think about it."
"I want to see Fight Club!"
"Nah. How about Horton Hears a Who or Pulp Fiction?"
"What's Pulp Fiction?"
"You know what, let's just go on a walk instead. See if we can spot some dragons, or giant carnivorous birds."
"Nooo! I want to watch some cinema!!"
"Let's just go on a walk. We can chat about antifragility. Sound good?"
So we went on a walk.**
**and then watched a bit of Horton, which I think was the best choice for six-year olds, although I have frequently wished Horton was a dragon instead of elephant.
***the above is the compositing of two conversations separated by Time, which is a different scientific concept I'd like to address soon and straighten out some misconceptions.
****I blatantly fabricated one quote, but I think it helps the idea be taken more seriously so we'll leave it.
The Sky is Falling