20 April 2012

Quote of the Day

Courtesy John Kay:
“How convenient it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to make or find a reason for whatever one has a mind to do.”

Benjamin Franklin


  1. And oddly enough, the smartest people are often the best at rationalization.

  2. This is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle restricted to human consciousness, but Franklin was quoted first.

    Analogously, our perceptions influence reality.

  3. Close but it is actually: "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

  4. This is a good summary of the current state of policymaking...

  5. Massimo Piglucci’s “Psychoanalysis and Social Constructivism” in the May/June 2012 issue of Skeptical Inquirer (not yet online) describes psychoanalysis provides a good model of what science would be like if social constructivist theories of knowledge were correct about the nature of science. He describes social constructivism as “the idea that science is, in a strong sense, a social activity that is ‘constructed’ by its member participants -- that is, the scientists.” In short it has little to do with empirical results, but with the distribution of power within the structure of science. Politics, in other words.

    Thus it is not enough simply for scientists to be “reasonable creatures” in their activities and arguments. We are all reasonable, no? The test of what science is lies in methodology and data, observation and experimentation. Few scientists and philosophers take social constructivism seriously, but one does detect hints of it even among the practitioners of science from time to time.

    It almost seems as if this blog entry is merely a prelude to the 4/23/2012 entry that follows. Its purpose is to set the stage for the differentiation of politics from science.