Pyramid Philosophical

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Guide To Science

John Gribbin, PhD (astrophysics) has been a science writer for many years. In his book Almost Everyone's Guide To Science [Phoenix, ISBN: 0 75380 769 6] he writes in the Introduction:

"The fate of specialists in any one area of science is to focus more and more narrowly on their special topic, learning more and more about less and less, until eventually they end up knowing everything about nothing.

It was in order to avoid such a fate that, many years ago, I chose to become a writer about science, rather than a scientific researcher. The opportunity this gave me to question real scientists about their work, and to report my findings in a series of books and articles, enabled me to learn less and less about more and more, although as yet I have not quite reached the stage of knowing nothing about everything. After thirty years of this, and many books focusing on specific aspects of science, it seemed a good idea to write a general book, giving a broad overview of science, while I am still at the stage of knowing a little bit about most things scientific."

Copyright 1998 by John & Mary Gribbin

This captures perfectly my own view, but has been described better than I had ever considered it before. I had been narrowing my view becoming more knowledgeable about less and less for probably a similar slice of time as Dr.Gribben has been writing (my working life was as a research and development chemist). I no longer work, but my thirst to acquire knowledge has rocketed and remains unquenchable.

Concentrating on the path ignores all the scenery.

There is also a very real freedom from peer group comment about unusual views. The views I make are my own. Totally. Some radical, but sometimes just challenging 'mainstream' thinking. Sometimes playing 'Devil's Advocate'. Taking an alternative viewpoint, but no longer stifled by being entrenched in dogma and mantra. I believe I am not wrong. I just take an alternative path. Reasoned argument allows a concluding statement to be made. I know this can be deemed flawed, but according to what or to whom? I do not personally find this a problem if sensible argument defeats my view. If it does not then I am no more wrong than anyone else is right. Or, put the other way around, me more right than anyone else wrong.


I no longer worry about ridicule. To ridicule is simply a crude and pathetic attempt to control by accepting dogma and espousing mantra. This ensures nothing changes and dogma remains dogma. Usually those who ridicule simply reject a statement and ignore the argument without proposing any evidence in the rebuttal as a minimum response. Or any form of counter argument.

Most creative ideas that have excelled started
out as ideas considered too absurd for words

The Paradoxical Scientist

My main objective is to know more and more about more and more and opening debate is, I believe, the way forward.

The Earth is (probably) not at the centre
of the universe, but just a speck
somewhere on that stage


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