Saturday, April 09, 2005

Life lessons

Life lessons

What is the one thing everyone should learn about science? Spiked asked 250 scientists—here we bring you some of the most provocative responses
(The Guardian)
Matt Ridley Founding chair of the International Centre for Life

Science is not a catalogue of facts, but a search for new mysteries. Science increases the store of wonder and mystery in the world; it does not erode it. The myth that science gets rid of mysteries, started by the Romantic poets, was well nailed by Albert Einstein—whose thought experiments about relativity are far more otherworldly, elusive, thrilling, and baffling than anything dreamt up by poets.

Isaac Newton showed us the mysteries of deep space, Charles Darwin showed us the mysteries of deep time, and Francis Crick and James D Watson showed us the mysteries of deep encoding. To get rid of those insights would be to reduce the world’s stock of awe.

Roderich Tumulka Researcher in physics at the Mathematics Institute at the University of TĂĽbingen

Paranormal phenomena do not exist. Magic, witchcraft, mind-reading, clairvoyance, faith healing and similar practices do not work and never have worked. It makes a crucial difference whether we imagine ourselves surrounded by supernatural beings and happenings or whether instead we see ourselves in a world that science can help us understand. Many scientific principles, concepts, or discoveries need not, despite their importance, be understood by the public, but just by the experts. The question of the paranormal is different in this respect.

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