Sunday, November 30, 2014

"What should a Bayesian infer from the Antikythera Mechanism?"

This was a fascinating MR post:

"The alternative possibility is that antiquity had many more such exotic devices, which have remained unreported, at least in the manuscripts which have come down to us. That would imply, essentially, that we don’t have a very good idea of what antiquity was like. In my view that is the more rational Bayesian conclusion."
One of the commenters mentions a book called How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why it Had to Be Reborn:
"it was in the age of Archimedes and Euclid that science as we know it was born, and gave rise to sophisticated technology that would not be seen again until the 18th century"
Sandro Graffi, professor of mathematical physics, writes a review:
"[I]n the same way that the Renaissance was based on the recovery of classical culture, the post-Renaissance scientific revolution of the seventeenth century was basically due to the conscious recovery of the Hellenistic science.

This book shows how complex and unstable the preservation of science is when the unit of time of historical observation is the millennium. The epilogue contains the (rather pessimistic) views of the author on the future of science, threatened by the apparent triumph of today’s vogue of irrationality even in leading institutions

[T]he present scientific revolution will in time be forgotten, and new Dark Ages are awaiting our descendants."

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