yanom wrote:Adam My:
I remember sitting in a university classroom in China a few years ago, most of my classmates from other east Asian countries but a very few Westerners, the Asian students taking notes on what the experienced teacher was teaching, but a couple of the Westerners forever shooting their hands up in the air asking "why?" whenever they were told something by the teacher.
Which was very frustrating for everyone because no one was at the level to understand the explanation. If you study maths or science at age 12, your teachers will not bother explain the intricacies of quantum physics to you no matter how many whys you ask, because you don't know enough whats at that age.
I think most people in the west grow out of the "to many whys" stage by the time they leave school. There's definitely an art in knowing when to content for a whilewith absorbing and taking stock, before returning to the questions. But maybe this is something that only comes with a bit of perspective.
I mean, if you get that worked up about these things there are plenty of topics about yixing teapots, for instance, that no one asks "why" about, i.e. why is this clay better than that one, there's some smart speculation about porosity or high/low-firedness but a lot of it boils down to accepting either ones own judgement or the judgement of others. Shouldn't you be asking questions about all that too?
Let's put it another way. You may not know why/how acupuncture works. But you find yourself needing an operation, without anaesthetic, and you've seen two previous patients undergo the same operation, with acupuncture, and they didn't feel much pain. You're about to go under the knife and are offered the acupuncture, do you decline?
That's not to say I find the original topic hugely plausible, but I think you overstate your scepticism.
Finally, your quote: "Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist"
This only makes logical sense if you believe in God. You can't have an explanation existing without that someone is there to do the explaining, i.e. someone who already knows. And a belief in God is not easily compatible with too many "whys" and too many proofs, right?
To the last part; that is blatantly false, but I don't want to get into a theological discussion in a tea chat room.
I am an academic on track to receive a doctorate in mathematics, but I am also a teacher. To answer your first point, if your teacher responds with anything along the lines of "you don't know enough to understand," in most cases they are a bad teacher, it really only is when you are at the very high levels when things become horribly intertwined that it would take an entirely different course to work up the background to prove the result that is used to complete this result. But that does not mean that the teacher shouldn't be able to give a semi convincing plausibility argument that should help illuminate what is going on.
In terms of earlier on levels of teaching, then in most cases to ignore the why's is what is failing schools all across the US and to some extent the rest of the world. Its actually a huge tragedy that many grade school math teachers don't know how to work with fractions themselves, so they barely teach them to their students, and can not answer any questions on them. But I am not saying you need to give them a complete break down of the history and formation of mathematics and physics needed to fully understand why that result is true. You should be able to give some reason convincing enough to their level to make them understand, and failing to even attempt that is horrible teaching.
Throughout my many many years of schooling, I can not tell you how many times I was taught something, then a little later I was told "you know that thing you knew to be true, well it is not always true, but now that we can explain a bit more lets examine when it is and when it is not true..."
Plus you should go back and re-read my posts, I was never skeptical that this was true, in fact most of my posts were suggestions on why it might be true. Similar with a lot of the yixing threads, though those are far more complicated than many people seem to believe it is, so I mostly ignore those, as it honestly is not this clay, this shape, this filter, or this thickness, its a gamut of things, which is why you never see the people that really know about yixing on this forum making any sort of claims about what a pot will do to a tea just on a photo alone. In fact most of them ask for some level of tests to be done then based on the persons responses then give feedback.