Describing vs Explaining

Our daughter is quite verbal. With this affections for words, she likes to state what she observes when mommy or daddy leaves the house on certain occassions: "Daddy work." or "Mommy work." Were a stranger to hear her toddler-speak, rightfully, they would conclude that dad is indeed at work. Anna would have succeeded in describing my actions and locality. I went to work. But, has Anna really explained anything? No, she has merely described. And, here, we find a key lesson in observation. When a physicist tells you all about the interplay of mass and acceleration and gravity, he is describing gravity. If he's an honest physicist, he'll tell you that at the end of the day he can't truly explain it. Only when a scientist, or any human endeavoring to observe, embraces this mystery will he trod the less worn paths of humility towards truth, rather than the well-worn path of Sisyphean ascent.


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