NYU Mathematics '15.
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“Because of the success of science, there is a kind of a
pseudo-science. Social science is an example of a science which is not
a science. They follow the forms. You gather data, you do so and so
and so forth, but they don’t get any laws, they haven’t found out
anything. They haven’t got anywhere – yet. Maybe someday they will,
but it’s not very well developed.
But what happens is, at an even more mundane level, we get experts on
everything that sound like they are sort of scientific, expert. They
are not scientists. They sit at a typewriter and they make up
something like ‘a food grown with a fertilizer that’s organic is
better for you than food grown with a fertilizer that is inorganic’.
Maybe true, may not be true. But it hasn’t been demonstrated one way
or the other. But they’ll sit there on the typewriter and make up all
this stuff as if it’s science and then become experts on foods,
organic foods and so on. There’s all kinds of myths and pseudo-science
all over the place.
Now, I might be quite wrong. Maybe they do know all these things. But
I don’t think I’m wrong. See, I have the advantage of having found out
how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have
about checking your experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and
fool yourself. I know what it means to know something.
And therefore, I see how they get their information. And I can’t
believe that they know when they haven’t done the work necessary, they
haven’t done the checks necessary, they haven’t done the care
necessary. I have a great suspicion that they don’t know and that they
are intimidating people by it. I think so. I don’t know the world very
well but that’s what I think.”
- Richard P. Feynman