Category Archive: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

Penguin: 2007.

The belief in the ignorance of experts

As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. …

I am trying to inspire the teacher at the bottom to have some hope and some self-confidence in common sense and natural intelligence. The experts who are leading you may be wrong. …

I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television — words, books, and so on — are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science. …

Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation. [187-8]

Science doesn’t teach us anything

When someone says science teaches us such and such, he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach it; experience teaches it. … And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but we must listen to all the evidence), to judge whether a reusable conclusion has been arrived at. [187]

Feynman’s philosophy of science

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that. [212]