A history of irresponsible dreams.
Browsing Quora, I found a really interesting series of responses to a posting discussing a Neil deGrasse Tyson quote (above link takes you to it). Found some favorite quotes by Feynman and Popper tucked away in a response by contributor Robert Frost…
Take it from Richard Feynman:
“So there came a time in which the ideas, although accumulated very slowly, were all accumulations not only of practical and useful things, but great accumulations of all types of prejudices, and strange and odd beliefs.
Then a way of avoiding the disease was discovered. This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initio again from experience what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past in the form in which it is passed down. And that is what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race[‘s] experience from the past. I see it that way. That is my best definition… …
As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”
Or Karl Popper:
“Our aim as scientists is objective truth; more truth, more interesting truth, more intelligible truth. We cannot reasonably aim at certainty. Once we realize that human knowledge is fallible, we realize also that we can never be completely certain that we have not made a mistake.”
“The history of science, like the history of all human ideas, is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, and of error. But science is one of the very few human activities — perhaps the only one — in which errors are systematically criticized and fairly often, in time, corrected. This is why we can say that, in science, we often learn from our mistakes, and why we can speak clearly and sensibly about making progress there.”
“The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game.”