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Science is, at its most basic level, a set of tools for making sense of the world around us. It does so by making observations in the natural world and in controlled situations (experiments). In these observations, one tries to isolate the components of a particular phenomenon so that you can make predictions on future instances of the phenomenon with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

However, science can't explain everything, only those things that can be objectively measured. When it comes to humans and their behavior, it can be even more complicated. Humans don't always act rationally (some might argue that rational behavior is the exception rather than the rule). We act based on fears, biases, expectations and impulses. So far, the best we can manage to do is to predict certain outcomes based on certain initial conditions, but we're far from having the accuracy of the physics of freefall.

The problem is that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you're trained in science, you tend to use it to solve your troubles, even if they can't be solved that way. You want to make sense of what's happening and you make a model of it, a theory that seems to fit reality. Then you test your theory, you try to get a rational explanation so you can make a prediction and maybe even a way of changing the outcome to fit your desire or expectation.

Humans don't work like that. Even if you manage to get a (scientific) explanation of how things came to be, it will hardly be able to predict scientifically how things will be. You'll have to account for emotions, money, relationships, family, and anything else that may affect the other person. At this point, it's easier to call it a chaotic system and accept that small changes will produce unexpected results.


A friend of mine has disappeared. Not in the physical sense, mind you: she stopped answering my calls and text messages. One week followed another and now it's been months like this. A few days ago, two of our common friends told me the same thing happened to them. This morning, her own sister told me she's another "victim".

At first I thought I did something wrong. Maybe I said something that offended her or her political ideas (which tend to be rather extreme and irrational in my opinion). Then, a rational talk and an honest apology should suffice to restore our friendship. This proved to be impossible, as she never replied.

Then, new theories came up (as any scientist does when new evidence comes forth). Theories about me not deserving her friendship, about her snobbing up to the point of dismissing everyone, about radical changes in emotion, outlook of life and even religion. Without the rigor that real science needs, these pseudoscientific ideas quickly snowballed out of control.

Later, when I knew that I wasn't the only one, I could see some kind of answer: she's dismissing everyone when she's in a relationship. Friends and family alike. It's an easy idea to grasp (even if it's an ugly one) it cannot be explained on a scientific basis, nor can a scientific theory be discovered to figure out how it came to be and how it will play in the future. We can understand it in human terms, we can explain it based on other (maybe irrational) examples, but not through science.

I'm having a hard time coming to terms with it. I cannot understand it, and I don't know where or how it came to be like this. There's a part of me for which this doesn't make any sense and probably it doesn't have any. It seems that all I can do now is to hope for our friendship to eventually recover or for it to end completely for my own benefit. Either way, I can't understand it, and it scares me.

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