A fascinating frame of the human mind
A fascinating frailty of the human mind
A fascinating frailty of the human mind

Scientists do not
collect data
randomly


and utterly comprehensively


The data they collect are only those that they consider 'relevant' to some hypothesis or theory." ― David Lewis-Williams, The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art

The rules of scientific investigation always require us, when we enter the domains of conjecture, to adopt that hypothesis by which the greatest number of known facts and phenomena may be reconciled." ― Matthew Fontaine Maury, The Physical Geography of the Sea, and Its Meteorology

Any physical theory is always provisional in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory." ― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

"It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what is going on." ― Amos Tversky>

I find this most useful. It justifies the expert time spent upon it. We now have a number of so-called facts each preceded by the word 'probably'. It shows commendable caution on the part of those who don't want to accept responsibility for their own statements." "An intelligent guess is better than no guess at all, Your Excellency," suggested Shelton, who by now had worked off his ire on the unfortunate Trooper Casartelli. "It isn't even an intelligent guess," denied the Ambassador. "It is based solely on what can be seen. No account has been taken of what cannot be seen." "I don't know how it is possible to do that," said Shelton, failing to understand what the other was getting at. "I neither ask nor expect the impossible," the Ambassador gave back. "My point is that data based exclusively on the visible may be made completely worthless by the invisible." He tapped the report with an authoritative forefinger. "They estimate sixteen thousand strongholds -- above ground. How many are below ground?" "Subterranean ones?" exclaimed Shelton, startled. "Of course. There may be fifty thousand of those for all we know." "We didn't see any."

"He says we didn't see any," the Ambassador said to Grayder." ― Eric Frank Russell, The Great Explosion

The dictionary is based on the hypothesis -- obviously an unproven one -- that languages are made up of equivalent synonyms. ― Jorge Luis Borges


It may be asked how I know that there are any Reals. If this hypothesis is the sole support of my method of inquiry, my method of inquiry must not be used to support my hypothesis. The reply is this: 1. If investigation cannot be regarded as proving that there are Real things, it at least does not lead to a contrary conclusion; but the method and the conception on which it is based remain ever in harmony. No doubts of the method, therefore, necessarily arise from its practice, as is the case with all the others. 2. The feeling which gives rise to any method of fixing belief is a dissatisfaction at two repugnant propositions. But here already is a vague concession that there is some one thing which a proposition should represent. Nobody, therefore, can really doubt that there are Reals, for, if he did, doubt would not be a source of dissatisfaction. The hypothesis, therefore, is one which every mind admits. So that the social impulse does not cause men to doubt it. 3. Everybody uses the scientific method about a great many things, and only ceases to use it when he does not know how to apply it. 4. Experience of the method has not led us to doubt it, but, on the contrary, scientific investigation has had the most wonderful triumphs in the way of settling opinion. These afford the explanation of my not doubting the method or the hypothesis which it supposes; and not having any doubt, nor believing that anybody else whom I could influence has, it would be the merest babble for me to say more about it. If there be anybody with a living doubt upon the subject, let him consider it." ― Charles Sanders Peirce, The Fixation of Belief

"Engaging specialists in interpreting ancient artifacts in Egypt is absolutely necessary in establishing a credible hypothesis. Without their input, there cannot be a comprehensive understanding of the past. For instance, the pyramids on the Giza Plateau were built not by Egyptologists or archaeologists but by engineers and craftsmen. It is not surprising, therefore, that Egyptologists overlook engineering features and nuances that would be recognized immediately by those who are trained in those disciplines." ― Christopher Dunn, Lost Technologies of Ancient Egypt: Advanced Engineering in the Temples of the Pharaoh

"To err is human, to persist in error is diabolical." ― Georges Canguilhem, Ideology and Rationality in the History of the Life Sciences

Whence then come my errors? They come from the sole fact that since the will is much wider in its range and compass than the understanding, I do not restrain it within the same bounds, but extend it also to things which I do not understand: and as the will is of itself indifferent to these, it easily falls into error and sin, and chooses the evil for the good, or the false for the true."

― René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

"Garbage in, garbage out. Or rather more felicitously: the tree of nonsense is watered with error, and from its branches swing the pumpkins of disaster." ― Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

Running overtime is the one unforgivable error a lecturer can make. After fifty minutes (one microcentury as von Neumann used to say) everybody's attention will turn elsewhere." ― Gian-Carlo Rota, Indiscrete Thoughts

"Our castle would crumble before us but that doesn't mean it can't be rebuilt, rebuilt for real, this time without the errors and a little more caution." ― Chirag Tulsiani

Frog and ocean

"But oh, the perils of leadership in a species so anxious to be told what to do. How little they knew of what they created by their demands. Leaders made mistakes. And those mistakes, amplified by the numbers who followed without questioning, moved inevitably toward great disasters." ― Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

A fascinating frame of the human mind

And it is silly how all the should've been, could've been and might've been hypothetical situations can bother you more than all the wrong that has already been!"

― Moulika Danak

"So, the first things we must do is decide which it is: A substantive and hidden thing that produces cultural symptoms or it is the meme "hypothesis" and testable. If it is not falsifiable it cannot meet the criteria of scientific fact, according to the very structure of the scientific methodology itself. This would put it in the latter category of faith-based belief systems" ― L.B. Ó Ceallaigh, The Bifrost and The Ark: Examining the Cult and Religion of New Atheism

Photos: River Tubing, Horseback Tours and Wildlife Preserve for rescued animals.

deep root

The hypothetico-deductive process


"There is nothing distinctively scientific about the hypothetico-deductive process. It is not even distinctively intellectual. It is merely a scientific context for a much more general stratagem that underlies almost all regulative processes or processes of continuous control, namely feedback, the control of performance by the consequences of the act performed. In the hypothetico-deductive scheme the inferences we draw from a hypothesis are, in a sense, its logical output. If they are true, the hypothesis need not be altered, but correction is obligatory if they are false. The continuous feedback from inference to hypothesis is implicit in Whewell's account of scientific method; he would not have dissented from the view that scientific behaviour can be classified as appropriately under cybernetics as under logic." ― Peter B. Medawar, Induction & Intuition in Scientific Thought

An instrument of knowledge


"Thenceforth they thought that, rationally concluded, doubt could become an instrument of knowledge." ― Marc Bloch, The Historian's Craft: Reflections on the Nature and Uses of History and the Techniques and Methods of Those Who Write It.