--rauketman'One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have.'
--Fullhawking' I had not heard that one before, but it rings true. My favorite is "God does not play dice.'
-- Tom DI disagree. Why is it childish ? What is so primitive about a child's mind ? Society is the most precious thing we have--- it allows for science among other things.
Yes, Claude, I like that one too. Not self-depreciating, yet acknowledging efforts of others.Originally posted by Claude Bile
'If I have seen further than other men, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.'
- Isaac Newton
This quote is my favourite, as it encapsulates the sheer monument of what science is, the culmulative intellectual acheivement of thousands, if not, millions of the most brilliant minds of the last four centuries.
'One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have.'
I believe the point was that, especially for those who daily use even the most sophisticated tools of modern science in the investigation of the natural world, you find time after time those tools are remarkable primitive in their ability to describe reality. The models, while extremely useful, are just so crude when one observes closely whats out there. We have this vast universe of trillions upon trillions out there, and yet the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_body_problem#Three-body_problem" is still beyond the power of science.I disagree. Why is it childish ? What is so primitive about a child's mind ? ...
Yes, it was definitely meant as an insult to Hook who was a hunchback. Newton took every opportunity to insult Hook and this quote is no exception. There is a short discussion about this in James Gleick's biography of Newton.Yes, I've heard that was exactly the point of the Newton quote: a double entendre.
Similar in some ways to the OP's quote.Newton said:I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Take out the negative emotive connotations and you'll see that 'primitive' is a descriptive term for a child's mind. Similarly, Early Man was primitive, but had huge potential; it took time and experience to make good on that potential.What is so primitive about a child's mind ?
I prefer Bohr's reply.I had not heard that one before, but it rings true. My favorite is "God does not play dice."