A curious girl seeks answers from her father
|"Daddy, why does the rainbow have so many colors?” Abby looked up at the sky.
“Because, after it rains, and the sun comes back out, sometimes the sun will hit the water droplets still in the air, just the right way, and that forms a rainbow,” James looked down at his wondering daughter and smiled.
“Yeah, but why does it have so many colors?” Abby asked again.
James thought for a moment. “Because we have light sensors in our eyes, that tell our brain we’re seeing a color, or colors.”
“How do things have color then?”
James laughed. “You sure are a curious one, aren’t you? Well, the surfaces of things can absorb colors, and reflect others. That’s why we see red apples or green pears. The world has three main colors- do you know what they are?”
“Red, Blue, and yellow,” Abby declared. “They’re the primary colors! We learned that in school last week,” she beamed.
James chuckled. “That is true, but the three main colors are actually red, blue, and green.”
Abby gasped. “But green is a secondary color! You need to mix blue and yellow to make that. How can you have green and not have yellow?” Abby frowned.
James winked at his daughter. “Your brain actually mixes green and red light waves to make yellow.”
Abby frowned. “How do you know this?”
“I learned that in college.”
“College? Isn’t that where you met Mommy?”
“Yep, it is,” James took his daughter’s hand.
“But still, how did the person you learned this from know it?”
“He.... probably learned it from someone else.”
“And what about that someone else? Did they learn it from someone else, too?”
“Yep, they probably did. And so on and so forth, all the way back to the person who discovered it. And in this case, it’d be Isaac Newton. He’s also the guy who brought us the laws of physics.”
“But how did he know it’s right,” Abby demanded.
“Because... well, when someone discovers something new, they use something called the ‘scientific method’ to find out if it’s really real or not. There’s 6 steps. First, you ask a question. Then you make observations, about your question, and form a hypothesis, which is a theory, or guess, about what will happen. Afterwards, you test the hypothesis by conducting experiments, collect your results, and share your results with everyone else. So once somebody shares some new information, before it can be a fact, other people need to be able to repeat the test- again and again- and get the same results.”
“Everybody gets the same results? Isn’t that cheating?”
James laughed. “No, it’s not cheating. It just means that the new information we found was really true. Because everyone can say, ‘Yes, I did exactly what you did, and got the same results.’ Imagine, if you did exactly what someone else did and got a different result. Wouldn’t you be confused?”
Abby tilted her head in thought. “That’s true! It would be confusing.”
And thank goodness for that, thought James. I was running out of answers.
Written for "Philosophical Musings"
Prompt: Knowledge ▼