Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Feynman on "Pretentious Science"

The "work" is always

(1) completely un-understandable,

(2) vague and indefinite,

(3) something correct that is obvious and self-evident, worked out by a long and difficult analysis, and presented as an important discovery, or

(4) a claim based on the stupidity of the author that some obvious and correct fact, accepted and checked for years is, in fact, false (these are the worst: no argument will convince the idiot),

(5) an attempt to do something, probably impossible, but certainly of no utility, which, it is finally revealed at the end, fails or

(6) just plain wrong.

There is a great deal of "activity in the field:" these days, but this "activity" is mainly in showing that the previous "activity" of someone else resulted in an error or in nothing useful or in something promising.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem with your usage of Feynman's saying is that he probably meant it to have a descriptive purpose, while you seem to impose a prescriptive notion. I mean like those people in case (3), what Feynman has said is descriptive of the larger experience of man and it is self-evident to anybody without their head stuck up their asses. The problem with his entire dismissal of these categories of scholarship is that most people most of the time have their heads stuck up their asses.