[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: a lot of fog?

Ken Kinman <kinman@hotmail.com> wrote:

>      Instead of watching the Olympics last night, I was working on a list of 
> characters to help support my revised topology.  

This is a recipe on how *NOT* to do science.  To quote Richard Feynman
(from _Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman_):

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are
    the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that.

When you go about searching for things that support a particular position
instead of trying to look at all of the data and asking, "do the data
support or refute this particular hypothesis?" you are just asking to fool
yourself.  For the full essay from which I extracted the quote, see:


Ken's attempt to find characters that support his pre-conceived
classification sounds much like Feynman's description of how attempts to
replicate Millikan's results held us back from getting more accurate
measurements of the charge of an electron.

IMHO, Ken, everyone -- including you -- would be better off if you started
watching the Olympics instead of persevering in misguided exercises.

Mickey Rowe     (rowe@psych.ucsb.edu)