Re: [asa] Origins of Life

From: <>
Date: Sat Jun 06 2009 - 13:23:33 EDT

And I must further add to my previous response below that my "bigger messier"
description of science still was highly romanticized in that it does not mention
the many false starts, wrong theories, wacky misconceptions among the lay public
and even sometimes among the leading thinkers that for a time may have swayed
some but were overturned later. All of that may be termed the "undergrowth of
science" --which actually is the title of a wonderful book on exactly these
topics. (author slips my mind at the moment.) What we now see to be the
successes distilled out of this history of undergrowth could or would not have
been achieved independently of the same substrate of effort that gives us all of
this: failures, successes, all.

p.s. the burning question now, as in every previous time, is which of our
currently developing fingers of knowledge will evaporate and which will prove
productive and explanatory a hundred years hence? We want the same crystal ball
everybody else has always wanted and like they, we are denied.


> Quoting Gregory Arago <>:
> >  
> > I understand your point, Merv, but what you,re presenting can be seen as a
> > <romantic view of science.> Much science, as it is done, is not eureka
> > moments, and bafflement, and imagination. It is day to day data
> collection,
> > experimentation, repetition, documentation,
> classification, observation, etc.
> > The majority of scientists don,t actually contribute much at all to
> > <scientific progress>. Lakatos spoke about the innovators being roughly 7
> per
> > cent of scientists. Would anyone out there choose to argue with him?
> >  
> Your point is well-taken, Greg. I would add that not only was my
> description
> romanticized but it could still be seen as the core (or "heart & soul") of
> science. Then, as you might, say: most of the body is not "heart" but the
> surrounding and supporting flesh & structure. The 7% of innovators you refer
> to
> are busy doing what we aspire to call science at its best. But a knife edge
> cannot exist without supporting structure behind it (i.e. data collection,
> organization, presentation, messy argumentation, formulation, publication,
> education, dissemination, popularization --which may in turn lead to tax
> payer
> funding back to the cutting edge crew... etc.) The whole big messy
> endeavor
> all has its place in the world of science. But we can still point to the
> type
> of thinking required to be on or near the cutting edge and say to those
> around
> us: "now THAT'S scientific thinking!" without meaning that all the rest
> isn't
> also part of science.
> --Merv
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Received on Sat Jun 6 13:23:42 2009

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