Your morning dose of Feynman

Richard Feynman, God of Perfect Analogies, explains why it's not a failure or a scandal when scientists adapt and change their understanding of the world. This is a really important point, applicable in a lot of public debates over science, especially those focused on evolution and climate change. Science isn't about writing things on tablets of stone. It's about taking a theory and constantly digging deeper into it—adding layers of nuance, finding stuff that doesn't make sense, and using both to build a more complete picture. Even if the big idea is right, the details will change. That's how science is supposed to work.

Via W. Younes

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  1. Great video.  The job of a scientist is to find out new things and increase our understanding of the universe.  Sometimes that new understanding is different from what we understood before.  I always get confused by people who get mad at scientists for just doing their job.

    1. People don’t get mad at scientists for doing science, that’s their job.  People get mad at scientists for doing politics, which is not.

  2. Castling in chess seems like something a guy made up one day and said “Oh, no, I’m pretty sure it’s an official move. Trust me.”

  3. Brilliantly clear, as usual.

    I suppose the greatest failure if science education is that this point has to be constantly re-explained.  Creationists are always saying “But look, there’s so much science doesn’t know!” as if that means that we should reject science, when what it means is that we need more science.

  4. This is from one of his lectures for first-year physics students,  on ‘our understanding of physics up to now’.   The other ‘intro lecture’ is on quantum mechanics.

    They’re worth looking for and loading into your MP3 player.

  5. God does not play dice… he’s into chess apparently! 

    “God of Perfect Analogies”… shit, you weren’t kidding. Brilliant boost for my morning. The world needs you again Feynman! 

  6. I never knew that The Feynman looked and sounded so much like Danny Aiello!  Does this mean I really died in Vietnam?

    1. Well, they are both from New York and from a generation when regional accents were still common….

  7. Feynman is (as usual) 100% right. 

    So the next time someone on boing boing babbles about “scientific consensus” link them to this video. 
    Science isn’t about consensus, it’s about questions. 

  8. I don’t know if I can get on board with the praise for this one.  I have just been reading too much Putnam, Rorty, Khun, etc. lately to cheer for what appears to me to be a more or less naive realist conception of what science is and does.

    1. I’m fairly sure a Nobel Prize for Physics winner has pretty decent conception of science.

      You need to realize that Feynman didn’t get the appellation of The Great Explainer for collecting bottle caps. He got it because he could not only reduce an idea or concept to its simplest core, he could also explain it in such a way that non-physicists would understand. Videos like this are aimed at a lay audience with *zero* to little exposure to real science.

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