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Thread: Symmetry

  1. #1 Symmetry 
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    Sep 2012
    Are human beings irregular in shape? Though, they do indeed have a line of symmetry, the two halves are barely truly symmetrical, aren't they?

    My physics teacher said they were regular in shape, and I have always believed that anything that has occurred in nature is irregular in shape --- though, I'm not sure were this belief came from. Is it true? Can anyone reason?

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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    Your physics teacher should also be talking to you about precision, accuracy and error bars. Depending on how we set the limits we are both regular and irregular in shape.

    I used to do an impression in the style of T. N. George, the Welsh professor of geology at Glasgow University. I would hold up to objects, say tennis balls. You have to imagine the Welsh accent. "On the scale of mountains these are identical, on the scale of coke bottles they are similar, on the scale of atoms they are radically different."

    I hope that makes the issue clearer.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Along those lines, and because I've been reading about probability lately, I submit this quote from Gary Curtis (the guy that runs the Fallacy Files website).

    "As with other mathematical laws―as well as scientific laws in general, and even the laws of logic―the laws of probability apply to the physical world only approximately."

    By which is meant that there is no perfection in the physical realm. On an atomic level, 2 seemingly identical tennis balls are indeed radically different from each other, and so the 2 halves of your own body. But as Mr. Curtis points out, "It isn't necessary that it be perfect" in order for it to be useful. In fact, depending on the circumstances, demanding perfection is a fallacy in its own right!
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