Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Beware common sense!


This bit comes to us from Neil deGrasse Tyson from his book "Accessory to War"
"What separate great scientists from ordinary scientists ... is the capacity to .... not let common sense dictate or constrain their thinking.

The formidable English physicist Issac Newton, for instance, questioned the the fundamentals of light and color. Who in their right mind would have thought that ordinary light -- white light -- was composed of colors at all?"
In contemporary parlance, this is "thinking outside the box", a meme of behavior and mindset which Tyson might have us believe separates the really good from the only adequate.

Of course, there is a case for "only adequate" which probably describes the bulk of practitioners since the truly gifted and great are out on the tails, as it were. "Only adequate" gets us safe and sturdy, risk averse, tried and true, and free of controversy. The ball does not advance very far, but then it's not supposed to.

On the other hand, "only adequate" isn't going to get you "E = mC2" and all the rest. If you are going to try to convince the world of space-time warp, best to avoid common sense!



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