An Observation

Here’s a good passage. Not apropos of anything in particular, I just happened to read it and I liked it so thought I would pass it on. It’s from Three Seductive Ideas, by Jerome Kagan, page 44.

Some scientists are uncomfortable with this level of uncertainty because they seek facts that are unlikely to be proven wrong. They resemble hunters who, having trapped a secret of nature, want it to stay fixed on the trophy wall forever. Other scientists are chess players who derive joy from following the many complex rules for doing science – the correct assignment of subjects, the proper balancing of conditions, the most appropriate statistical analyses. Those who are butterfly chasers – a third group – are willing to work years for an aesthetic moment that follows a discovery, no matter how infrequent or transient. These investigators accept the temporary nature of all scientific generalizations and are bothered least by the message ‘maybe.’

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