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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Highly Anomalous Event

The journey to San Francisco was smooth sailing with no plane delays; within two hours of landing I found myself in the E.R. of St. Francis Hospital (with the philosopher of science Ronald Giere), unable to walk.  I have just described an unexpected, “anomalous”, highly unusual event, but no one would suppose it was anomalous FOR, i.e., evidence against some theory, say, in molecular biology.  Yet I am  getting e-mails (from readers) saying, in effect, that since the improbable coin toss result is very unexpected/anomalous in its own right, it therefore is anomalous for any and all theories, which is patently absurd.  What had happened, in case you want to know, is that just as I lunged forward to grab my (bulging) suitcase off the airline baggage thingy, out of the corner of my eye I saw my computer bag being pulled away by someone on my left, and as I simultaneously yanked it back, I tumbled over---very gently it seemed-- twisting my knee in a funny way.  To my surprise/alarm, much as a tried, I could put no weight on my right leg without succumbing to a Geppeto-puppet-like collapse.  The event, of course, could rightly be regarded as anomalous for hypotheses about my invulnerability to such mishaps, because it runs counter to them.  I will assume this issue is now settled for our discussions, yes? 

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