Against Steady State

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed.

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Authors

Eduardo Garzanti, Pietro Sternai 

Abstract

Nature is never at steady state. Natural history is generated by ever-interacting forces that produce always surprising phenomena. Negating change is negating Nature’s essence, and the historical record, at both geological and human time scales, shows that steady state remains utopia. However, although unrealistic because constantly endangered, we need a state of equilibrium as a starting point for modelling Nature. The steady-state condition is thus widely used as a reference in models aimed at understanding natural processes. Models are tools useful to extract meaning from data but they do not produce data, and we are allowed to base our reasoning on fictions provided we resist the temptation to believe that our assumptions are real, thus falling into a narcissistic circular trap. We cannot avoid using fictions in our models, which however makes them limited and discourages the tendency to imagine planets sustained by elephants carried in turn by giant turtles held up by a snake.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/osf.io/p9xq7

Subjects

Earth Sciences, Other Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Keywords

Data Interpretation, Geology History and Economics, Physical Models, Understanding Nature, Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism

Dates

Published: 2020-03-23 17:22

Last Updated: 2020-09-02 10:03

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License

GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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