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Theologians and philosophers deal in the world of perfection, the ideal – capital “T” Truth. My degree is in Mechanical Engineering; I deal in the world of close enough – small “t” truths.
Tens of thousands of years ago, a great scientist observed that the sun rose in the east every morning and set in the west every night and concluded that the sun rotates around the Earth. And that was close enough to allow us to do some good stuff like navigating around our world.
Tens of thousands of years later, another great scientist, after making more refined observations, concluded that the Earth travels around the sun in a circular orbit while spinning on an axis. That was close enough to allow us to do even more nice things like navigating at night.
Many hundreds of years later, Kepler observed that the planets’ orbits are elliptical, and Newton gave us the mathematics to chart their movements. That was close enough to get us to the moon.
A few hundred years after that, Einstein made some adjustments to Newton’s approximation, which allowed us to do things that I don’t understand and don’t really care about because I’m an engineer living in the world of close enough.
Our succession – or progression – of small “t” truths should convince us that there is a capital “T” Truth out there somewhere because each new approximation is more useful than the last. We may get to that Truth someday or we may not. Either way, we can get close enough.Published in