I found the podcast discussion with Katherine Blundell to be very interesting. I think she raised a very interesting point about human expectation/intuition being a salient aspect that was missing from the Pandua Rainbow. Through this discussion, she began talking about the way in which human expectation played a role in ancient Mesopotamia. In the podcast she said that their interest in trying to predict eclipses and perfect motion of planets was to be able to know when there was any abnormalities in this cycle. For the ancient Mesopotamians, abnormalities in this cycle would indicate that the gods were trying to send them a message. I think this is an interesting framework, but I do not think that it would have entirely solved their concerns. Even if the Mesopotamians could accurately detect abnormalities, then there would become another issue of trying to decipher the message being sent to them from the gods. Some individuals might have viewed certain abnormalities as a positive sign while others might have viewed it as negative or insignificant. However, this was definitely an interesting revelation as I thought that most ancient civilizations’ interest in the solar system stemmed predominantly from curiosity.
If I were conducting the interview, I think I would have tried to challenge Ms. Blundell’s assertion that human expectation is a necessary element in discovering and explaining phenomena. I certainly do think that human expectation can serve a positive role in the discovery and explanation of phenomena. However, I also think that it can, at times, thwart this process as well. In the Path to Newton assignment, we analyzed many theories that were incorrect - some more than others. A common theme amongst many of these incorrect theories was the fact that they relied on incorrect assumptions. In other words, the theorist had already set out what they predicted to be the truth and then looked to curtail their observations of the actual phenomena to match their initial expectations. Often times, not having any expectations can actually lead an individual to be more open-minded and account for other potential explanations rather than being blinded by one.