Quote of the Day: No Foolin’

 

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool”.

 – Richard Feynman (1918-88)

A useful reminder for all of us. There are the stories we tell ourselves over and over again until we think they really happened or something we read or hear that easily fits our worldview and is accepted without further investigation.

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There are 3 comments.

  1. Vectorman Thatcher

    Richard Feynman is a rare intellectual who can communicate with everyone. He was a lifetime friend to a grandfather of a Ricochet Member.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. We have only 6 days left on the June Signup SheetWe even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #1
    • June 9, 2019, at 9:18 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Barfly Member

    The first truth is that one’s mind is a model of the world. The fidelity of that model, not its completeness or precision but its faithfulness, completely determines the quality of the individual.

    Z in MT (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):

    I really appreciate they they offer a Simple English version of the Feynman Diagram page:

    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feynman_diagram

    What I found interesting about Feynman diagrams, which looked at in one way is just a bookkeeping strategy, were critical to formulating great advanced in the understanding of not only how to perform quantum mechanical calculations, but gave great insight into how the quantum world really works (renormalization). The other great contributor to quantum mechanics was Dirac, who also developed efficient bookkeeping methods to solve and manipulate quantum mechanical equations.

    (That’s from the article Vectorman (View Comment) references above at #1.)

    One lesson I took from Feynman’s technique is that at the smallest scales the universe is linear – superposition works. Good thing, too, else we’d have never figured out so much.

    • #2
    • June 9, 2019, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Mike Riley Member

    Feynman had a story to illustrate that quote concerning an experiment to measure the charge of an electron. The first person to accurately measure it received a Nobel prize. But in science the proof is in replication. As replications were done each one was a little further from the original value. Small enough that each experimenter could chalk it up to the margin of error. But after a while there was clearly a trend away from the Nobel prize winning value. Not huge, but real nonetheless. Someone went back through the notes of the original experiment and found that a physical constant used in the calculation was slightly off. All those replicating had used the correct value for the physical constant, so why were their values at first close to the original and then slowly moved toward the correct value? Feynman’s conclusion was that the scientists doing replications had aimed toward what they thought was the right answer and stopped working when they got an answer that matched close enough. Thus did they fool themselves. 

    • #3
    • June 10, 2019, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 6 likes