Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Richard Feynman

 

The initial quote I had in mind was:

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” — Richard P. Feynman

But, as @Vectorman points out, Feynman has lots of good quotes. One of my other favorites is:

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

One of the best descriptions of how “science is done” is in his reply in a Q&A session:

“In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s really true. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works.

“If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is.… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”

All of this makes me wish Feynman were still alive and able to debate some of the “Man-Made Climate Change” Warriors.

There are 9 comments.

  1. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I didn’t want to distract from the post, but Feynman has a special meaning for me. My father had a PhD in Physics and although he worked in completely different fields, he was roughly a contemporary of Feynman. In my father’s last several months, I found an audio version of the book “Surely You’re joking, Mr. Feynman” and we would listen to it together when he was up to it.That was one of the few things that roused him up and got him paying attention. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to finish it. I still have the CDs as a memory of that time.

    • #1
    • July 23, 2019, at 11:22 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I didn’t want to distract from the post, but… one of my claims to fame is that I once had dinner with Richard Feynman. An informal dinner; more specifically, a backyard barbecue. But I did get a chance to sit next to him and talk for a while. And not surprisingly, he was utterly charming.

    Note that, at the time, the news of the day was filled with stories about faith healers, auras, astrology, homeopathy, psychokinesis, and the like. And those were his likely targets.

    So it was just a little bit different.

    • #2
    • July 24, 2019, at 1:09 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  3. Vectorman Thatcher

    WillowSpring: All of this makes me wish Feynman were still alive and able to debate some of the “Man Made Climate Change” Warriors.

    The biggest problem of Climate Change is the falsification of data and bad data, such as the heat sink effect of temperature measurements inside major metropolitan areas. In Computer terms, garbage in = garbage out.


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    • #3
    • July 24, 2019, at 8:41 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member
    Misthiocracy grudgingly Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring: All of this makes me wish Feynman were still alive and able to debate some of the “Man Made Climate Change” Warriors.

    Wouldn’t make a difference. They would still trash him. A scientist’s previous body of work is irrelevant if that scientist steps out of line with social orthodoxy.

    • #4
    • July 24, 2019, at 10:20 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Richard Easton Member

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    WillowSpring: All of this makes me wish Feynman were still alive and able to debate some of the “Man Made Climate Change” Warriors.

    Wouldn’t make a difference. They would still trash him. A scientist’s previous body of work is irrelevant if that scientist steps out of line with social orthodoxy.

    Freeman Dyson hasn’t made any friends by questioning AGW.

    OK I’ll edit it. Freeman Dyson hasn’t made many friends by questioning AGW.

    • #5
    • July 24, 2019, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. ddavewes Member

    He made at least one

    • #6
    • July 24, 2019, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring: All of this makes me wish Feynman were still alive and able to debate some of the “Man-Made Climate Change” Warriors.

    Richard Feynman was a great guy, a great scientist, and a straight shooter. He is missed.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
    • July 24, 2019, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Mark Camp Member

    Re Feinman’s statements…

    1. “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
    2. “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.”
    3. “In that simple statement is the key to science.”

    1. Me too.
    2. True.
    3. That’s an example of the thing identified in #1 as something that I rather not have. There’s no way that Feinman could have actually believed it; he must have been speaking casually.

    I have to believe that someone of his scientific ability must have known that what he appeared to be saying is simply not true. What he appeared to be saying is that it follows from this fact

    All theories that are falsified must be wrong in the view of a true scientist.

    that

    All theories that must be wrong in the view of a true scientist are falsified.

    We know from experimental evidence that the conclusion is false by itself, even if the above fallacious argument isn’t used.

    From the birth of science in the age of Copernicus, who knew that the Ptolomean theory of the solar system must be wrong even though it hadn’t been (and indeed never could be) falsified, its history has been one of theories, for example

    • the theory of caloric
    • the Galilean Relativistic attempt to explain away Maxwell’s equations
    • Action at a Distance
    • Special Relativity
    • the coexistence of Wave Theory and Particle theory
    • the coexistence of Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity

    were known by true scientists (like Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Lorentz, Einstein and others) to be false even though they were not falsified.

    All of the great advances of science, what Kuhn called the overthrow of paradigms, have been the result of true scientists persistently rejecting unfalsified and often unfalsifiable theories which they knew could not be true.

     

     

     

    • #8
    • July 24, 2019, at 2:51 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Theodoric of Freiberg Member

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    WillowSpring: All of this makes me wish Feynman were still alive and able to debate some of the “Man Made Climate Change” Warriors.

    Wouldn’t make a difference. They would still trash him. A scientist’s previous body of work is irrelevant if that scientist steps out of line with social orthodoxy.

    Freeman Dyson hasn’t made any friends by questioning AGW.

    OK I’ll edit it. Freeman Dyson hasn’t made many friends by questioning AGW.

    They could trash Feynman all they want, but it wouldn’t change a thing. Dyson was friends with Feynman and neither would give a thought to modifying their scientific conclusions to be popular.

    • #9
    • July 26, 2019, at 2:27 PM PDT
    • 1 like