Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Brain candy on dropping ideas

“Despite their claim that evidence is the arbiter, scientists rarely alter their views in major ways. Sure, they are often surprised by their discoveries, but on fundamental questions they are typically trenchant. The great astronomer Tycho Brahe never accepted the Copernican cosmos, Joseph Priestley never renounced phlogiston, Einstein never fully accepted quantum theory. Most great scientists have carried some obsolete convictions to the grave, which is why Max Planck claimed that science advances one funeral at a time.”

—In Philip Ball’s column “Richard Muller’s volte face on climate change is good for science” in The Guardian, July 31, 2012.

Unlike new ideas in politics, science moves forward without being slowed down by dynasties.

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