There is a certain beauty and corresponding reverence to the scientific method. The “problem” is that humans are using it: we are subject to biases and, most importantly, incentive systems. I highlight a Wired article about a young billionaire who has declared “a war on bad science”. His foundation’s work seeks to shed light on the instances of bad use of the scientific method, when data was perhaps ignored and corners perhaps cut. Analysts know what I am talking about: brushing away data points that seem “incoherent” with a theme, weighting independent factors disproportionately… We have all been there, no matter how hard we fight to be 100% rational and intellectually honest.
I get repetitive about the number one issue at my mind at any given time: how do I know if and when I know something? How to distinguish superficial from deep knowledge – and what to do to get from one to the other? I have posted this before and allude to it every now and then, and so does the brilliant Shane Parrish at uber-source Farnam Street Blog. His post on Richard Feynman’s famous TV special focuses on the part of truly knowing something.
The “Epicurean Dealmaker” comments to a Tim Harford article in the Financial Times – both worth the time. It highlights that science is increasingly about multidisciplinary collaboration, with its pros and cons. The risk is that scientists are becoming so specialized that no one can know enough about each piece of the puzzle, so it gets harder to check and to innovate. There will be no more Da Vincis, argues Tim Harford. In such a specialized world, the quest to achieve as much of a multidisciplinary knowledge as possible – as argued by Feynman in the introductory quote and by Charlie Munger repeatedly over the years – gains importance day by day.