Something to try: Science and Justice

Something to try: Science and Justice

Some reflections on a comparison.

Already in some other occasion I said in this blog that science can be compared with the judicial system. In one case and in another, you try to know how, perhaps why, something happened. It does not escape me that, in spite of the similarities, science and justice are not the same. One of the differences is that in sciences particular cases are investigated in order to reach general conclusions, which are then applied to other particular cases. The comparison, in that case, is more related to the legislative branch that creates the positive laws, then applied by the judicial system. The laws (both positive and scientific) are general, arising from particular cases and then applied to particular cases. For example: a person has a cough, conjunctivitis, fever and blemishes. Then another, then another. It investigates and reaches a common factor: a virus (measles). Analogously, one person steals another; then another case, and later another. As that does not aim at the common good, a law is established that punishes the one who steals (when it is detected, and it is proved) under the general consideration that it will always be wrong, with some limitations or requirements: it must be a volitional act and conscious. The biggest difference is that justice tries to find guilty people or legal subjects and imposes punishments.

What I want to emphasize, however, is that both theories in science and crimes in justice must be proven. What is to prove something? How is something tested? Let's think
Let's say Fulano went into a jewelry store, for which he broke the glass door, and then put the merchandise in a bag and left. Let's suppose that everything was recorded on video, does that video serve to prove the crime once and for all? Beyond what the laws say today, again, let us think:
If the video clearly shows the person, without doubt, it could serve, but at no time the offender shows the document to the camera, therefore the only thing we can use to identify the person are the physical features. Clothing may also work, but it is highly likely that two people dress very similarly. It is also possible that there are several people with similar facial features. Although the traits of the person are determined with great certainty, it can be difficult to identify if, for example, it is someone who has a twin brother.
Now let's suppose that we have a video of a person entering the jewelry store breaking the door and then leaving with the bag, but nothing is recorded inside the store, perhaps because the thief covered the interior chamber or because it did not work. With the video of the entrance-exit is enough to "prove" that such person stole? Actually what we would have "proven" is that such a person entered an alien premises, but we have not "proven" that he stole the goods. However, the jewels are missing and on the counter are the fingerprints of the person identified. It is logical to suppose, to deduce, to infer, that such subject took the jewels. or not?
These types of situations are commonplace in justice, that is, there is no direct material evidence of all the facts of a crime. It is not usual to have a video of each murder, robbery, rape in which all the details of an event are registered. It is impossible to "prove" a crime in that way, with few exceptions.

In a similar way it happens in sciences. What is this?

I am going to look for a new fascicle of the mobile solar system that is sold in installments (it goes for the 22 of 104!) And the friend canillita tells me that a new collection of sciences started, the first issue of which is about Einstein . And he tells me that he read about the subject years before, but he can not understand it. Then I took a notebook from my backpack and I drew it to explain something simple. It is an explanation given by Einstein himself and it is easy to find well developed in books and websites, so I will only mention it above:
Let's say there is a room in which we make a rubber ball that always moves at the same speed and bounces on the floor and ceiling with the same frequency, making a sound in each case. It's like a clock: tick, tac, tick, tac.
Let's change the ball to a photon, the particle of light, which always moves at the same maximum allowed velocity (since it has no mass at rest). It does not sound, but it is also a form of light clock. Someone is inside the room. And we are outside, seeing what happens inside because the wall is glass. We will see the same, we will measure the same. Now let's make the room move parallel to us, that is, the room is a ship, a train for example. What the inside measure will not be the same as what we measure, outside, although it is equivalent (using the transformation of the trio Lorentz + Minkowski + Poincaré).

An illustration of the light clock illustration. Credit: J.I.Illana.

And then the canillita says to me: "But it is a theory ...". And at that moment I thought: what do you mean by "but"? The kiosquero friend continued: "For example, the Big Bang as an initial explosion, it is a theory, it is something that can not be proven ...".
Then I said: "Actually the Big Bang was tried when, in 1964, Penzias and Wilson detected the microwave background radiation." Then I corrected myself: "In reality, what was discovered was that radiation, with a wavelength, frequency and temperature that were then interpreted as remnants of a very dense and hot start". And the little boy said: "It's a theory, you can not prove ..."

One might ask then what we expect to be a "test". We are not going to have a video of the Big Bang. As we would not have it in the case of the robbery to jewelry as I explained before. If we had to decide in that case, with the video of income-egress, more fingerprints of the man identified within the jewelry, plus the missing material, is not that enough to "prove" the "hypothesis" of theft? Or should we think like the canillita and say "it's a theory, you can not prove it"?

Because if it should be, then you can not "prove" almost any crime, or anything else (inside or outside the court system).

It is logical, however, that we be cautious, because if the positive law is an attempt to achieve the common good - punishing what is contrary - then we should not blame someone innocent. We have to be as safe as possible and if we can not prove adequately, then there will be no punishment. If we are not rigorous, it turns against us, since we could accuse everyone of everything, without proof.

That said, both in science and in justice, try to prove things as safely as possible (or should be). This does not mean that "trying" is having a video with the details, since in the great majority of cases it is not possible. Expect science to "prove" things as if there were a video with all the details, it is naive, utopian. And the same applies to Justice.

What is said about the canillita is true and is current. But the political and economic conjuncture, these days, also allows us to think about robberies, trials and the common good.
If we have people who say they paid bribes and bags full of money without legal origin and there were officials with assets that are not explained by their income, well, if that is not theft, what is it? What proof should be found so that there are no doubts? That question is very important, but it must be said, from what we thought before, that there will always be some margin of doubt as long as we can not "prove" everything with the least detail as if we had a video of all the facts. It will be necessary to infer, from concrete data, the missing facts, as well as the possible intentions.
Stealing is wrong and that is why it is punished, since it does not aim at the common good. If it were right, it should be good for everyone to steal and if we all steal, the common good would not be achieved.

But made the law, made the ideological trap. Because devaluing the currency, for example 300%, is also a way of stealing, nor does it aim at the common good, but it is not considered "illegal". Affiliating people without their consent, submit economic contributions of people living in poverty (ie they are unable to contribute) is not only lying, but if you lie is because you want to hide something else, probably illegal. It does not have off-shore accounts the one that tells the truth. Cutting the budgets of science and education does not aim at the common good either and is not seen as an illicit one. Destroying jobs and diluting the purchasing power does not aim at the common good and are not considered crimes, but deserve to be typified. Do we need to prove that all this is true? If necessary. Can you try? Yes you can. Yes you can!

The term "bullying" has been used to refer to harassment suffered by a child in school and social networks, but it can also be used for harassment between adults. Suppose a person bothers me, hits me, steals me, several times. I will try to avoid that, for example, by distancing myself. But if I can not, then I will have to defend myself, and the first and minimum way to do it is with the complaint, that is, expressing my disagreement. If, on the other hand, in the face of this type of harassment, I would not do anything, it is logical to imagine that it will continue to happen and it will get worse.
1-Any negative action or harassment will persist, unless it is forced to change exercising the force of the complaint.
2-The change will be proportional to the forces exercised.
3-Every action (positive or negative) generates a contrary reaction.

And this is a social Law, as scientific as Newton's Laws. If instead of acting like this, we are left with our arms crossed under the criterion that "you can not prove or do anything", then only a single force against us will be exercised and society will collapse like a massive star in a black hole, which is like the Big Bang, but the other way around. It is proven.

Conclusion: you learn more by buying the newspaper, than by reading it. Plop!

Sources and related links

The Light Clock

José Ignacio Illana
2. Space, time and spacetime: Minkowski diagrams

About the images

Illustration of Punya Mishr.
Why science teachers should care about social justice? New article

Newton's laws
Juanele, Moco Comics


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