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06 November 2012 @ 06:27 am
Science  
Let me differentiate between scientific method and the neurology of the individual scientist. Scientific method has always depended on feedback [or flip-flopping as the Tsarists call it]; I therefore consider it the highest form of group intelligence thus far evolved on this backward planet. The individual scientist seems a different animal entirely. The ones I've met seem as passionate, and hence as egotistic and prejudiced, as painters, ballerinas or even, God save the mark, novelists. My hope lies in the feedback system itself, not in any alleged saintliness of the individuals in the system.
Robert Anton Wilson
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Bill the bold bosthoonwcg on November 6th, 2012 01:00 pm (UTC)
This touches on something that annoys the bejezus out of me. The cult of personality surrounding Great Scientists. I've met several of them, and most are overblown pompous asses. The real work gets done, in most cases, by their grad students.

The one exception I'll note was John Bardeen, who was as humble and gracious a human being as you would ever find. He also genuinely deserved his two Nobel prizes in physics. Oddly, very few people recognize his name. Or maybe not so oddly, since he wasn't an eccentric kook.
El Coyote Gordo: carouselsupergee on November 6th, 2012 02:04 pm (UTC)
They put him on a stamp, which was cool.
sturgeonslawyer: Defaultsturgeonslawyer on November 6th, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
I had the opportunity a few years ago to have dinner with Sheldon Glashow. He seemed quite a nice guy, and he and my wife spent most of the evening discussing cats.
Bill the bold bosthoonwcg on November 6th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
Perhaps some day I'll have the pleasure.
browngirl on November 6th, 2012 03:35 pm (UTC)
This is a useful distinction which I shall remember next time I'm arguing with anti-climatology types.
hey love, I'm an inconstant satellite: real scientistjinian on November 6th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
Yep, that's us!

Signed,
Currently embroiled in a conflict of interest with another person in the lab