Rationality Quotes: November 2010

It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful, they are found because it was possible to find them. -J. Robert Oppenheimer.

There are two quite different interpretations of this quote: it either says something about scientists, or something about scientific truths, and I'm not sure which is the intention.

The two messages I see are:

  1. Scientists just enjoy seeking truths, you don't need to give them the incentive of practical applications in order for them to do science, so any truths that can be discovered will be, regardless of their usefulness.

  2. There are an awful lot of true things. The ones that we know might not be the most useful, but they are the ones that happen to lie

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0wedrifid9yProfound, necessary and optimistic. :)

Rationality Quotes: November 2010

by [anonymous] 1 min read2nd Nov 2010369 comments


A monthly thread for posting rationality-related quotes you've seen recently (or had stored in your quotesfile for ages).

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be voted up/down separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote comments/posts on LW/OB.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.