Scientific theories are impersonal. A theory is not scientific because the scientist believes in it. One can do science without ever believing in a theory for the knowledge in a theory never depends on the scientist believing in it. That knowledge component is objective—independent of what a person believes in or feels to be certain.
Indeed, science is a process of criticizing theories. Not proving them.
A scientific theory is guessed and then criticized. If the theory fails to survive the criticism, we discard it. If the theory survives the criticism, we do not dogmatically accept it to be the final word.
That theory is considered our current best explanation which science aims constantly to refute.
Thus, the concept of belief exists entirely outside the domain of knowledge.
As Sir Peter Medawar said,
“The intensity of the conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing on whether it is true or not.”
Unfortunately, perhaps due to this, some think of science as an inhuman act—a cold way of dealing with the “facts of reality”. This view is false but will have to be dealt with in another newsletter.
The Amazing Things & Ideas List
1. Biography I’m reading
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I think I’m in the Steve Jobs phase right now. And wow is it not awesome to be in it. Steve was truly a genius. His Walter Isaacson biography is brilliant.
2. Tesla’s master plan
I’ve been reading Elon Musk’s “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” written back in 2006.
Their business model and approach to market are interesting to look into and give insight into the natural progression of the public adopting new technologies.
Almost any new technology initially has high unit cost before it can be optimized and this is no less true for electric cars. The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market, where customers are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down market as fast as possible to higher unit volume and lower prices with each successive model.
3. Fascinating video… humans are amazing
For most of human history, none of this ever existed. Only with the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution did we start building such extraordinary technology. Fascinating what human knowledge can do.
This is a really cool video that compares the fastest man made objects.
4. On the conjectural nature of knowledge
“The gods did not reveal, from the beginning,
All things to us, but in the course of time
Through seeking we may learn and know things better.
But as for certain truth, no man has known it,
Nor shall he know it, neither of the gods
Nor yet of all the things of which I speak.
For even if by chance he were to utter
The final truth, he would himself not know it:
For all is but a woven web of guesses”
Thank you for reading.
I’ve got to meet the coolest people through stuff I’ve published on the Internet. Don’t hesitate to reach out by replying to this email or by sending me a DM on Twitter.
If you enjoy my newsletter, the best way to support it is by sharing it. And if you have the means, please consider buying me a coffee.
The problem comes when a scientist falls in love with their theory's.