Re: Experiments With Human Subjects

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 23 Sep 96 14:47:17 PDT

Chris Hibbert writes:
>I think you're drawing a tighter line around what counts as an
>experiment than you intended. ...
>They can move telescopes around, make predictions for other celestial
>objects and verify them, do the observations from spacecraft or
>aircraft as well as ground-based observatories, etc. This seems to be
>fully as controllable an experiment as you need to become convinced of
>the predictive value of Einstein's conjecture.

If there is any sensible distinction between observation and
experiment, it is in one's degree of control over a system. Observers
look, while experimenters change things (and look). Of course
observers can look at things from different angles, at different
times, at different frequencies, etc. And they can choose what to
focus attention on. But if obervation vs. experiment means anything,
this type of control does not imply its an experiment.

Robin D. Hanson