In an effort to describe what I see as the relationship of science to subjective viewpoints through simple stories, I introduce a couple of parables.....Parable of the Wolf, Goat and Cabbage
As a puzzle it is a variation of the fox, goose and bag of beans puzzle
. From the link:
In the earliest known occurrence of this problem, in the medieval manuscript Propositiones ad Acuendos Juvenes, the three objects are a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage.
The puzzle has been found in the folklore of African-Americans, Cameroon, the Cape Verde Islands, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, Italy, Russia, Romania, Scotland, the Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The story goes like this:
A man has a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage. He must cross a river with the two animals and the cabbage. There is a small rowing-boat, in which he can take only one thing with him at a time. If, however, the wolf and the goat are left alone, the wolf will eat the goat. If the goat and the cabbage are left alone, the goat will eat the cabbage.
The Question: How can the man get across the river with the two animals and the cabbage?
from this link
Within the links this is viewed as an old puzzle, but the symbols of wolf, goat and cabbage together and the relations between them can also be understood as a type of parable.
In this sense the wolf represents the unchecked selfish instincts of a person. The goat represents the emotional passions and the cabbage represents their intellectual capacity to reason.
The parable also applies to a communal or national level. The wolf now represents the short term selfish instincts of the most powerful members of the community, the goat is the community's more passionate beliefs and emotional judgements, while the cabbage represents their ability to reason impartially about themselves and the world around them.
The basic relations here are (1) greed and self-preservation, (2) emotional passions and (3) the ability to reason clearly beyond self-interest.
One should immediately see how weak and vulnerable that poor cabbage is within the group. Parable of the wolf, goat and cabbage applied to the WTC attacks and collapses
In the case of careful observation of the WTC collapses, the cabbage can be thought of as the application of impartial scientific standards within an open and observant intellectual culture that actively checks facts and verifies claims.
The goat can be thought of as gut feelings, prejudisms, taboos, physics shot from the hip while sitting in an armchair, laziness, false certainty...
The wolf is instinctive self-opportunism which is the mindset of domination by any means necessary. (Me on top, you on bottom, love it or get off the planet).
Consider the relationship between goat and cabbage in light of a comment by Einstein on gut feeling and "common sense":
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
One would think that careful and comprehensive observations and measurements required within scientific approaches to problem-solving are intended to counter common mistakes made by relying on gut feeling and opinion. One would think that the whole idea of careful observation is because it is better to rely on ones direct observations than soley on ones gut. The gut was never intended to replace the eyes.
But in the relation between goat and cabbage, the poor, highly vulnerable cabbage is in serious need of protection. If one is not astute and very careful, that cabbage is a goner
. If the boatman is careless for only a moment there is no way that cabbage will be able to fight off a hungry goat.
And as for the wolf? It is not mentioned in the story, but we know a hungry wolf can kill a boatman.....then eat the goat.........then eat the boatman, leaving the cabbage to the crows (to peck and peck and peck). Once again, the cabbage alone cannot fend off the crows and gets the worse of the bargain.