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Hawking Taught Us How to Be Wrong

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Sly Saint, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I was going to post this on the thread where Simon Wessely was presenting Steven Hawking at some conference or other but I can't find it.
    I thought it might be a good link to post on SW or Michael Sharpes twitter feed, by anyone who has not been blocked (as they seem to be fond of linking to other scientists and academics).

    "In 1997, he and Thorne bet another CalTech physicist, John Preskill, that information swallowed by a black hole could never be retrieved. If Hawking and Thorne were right, the finding would undermine the basic tenets of physics.

    Hawking worked on the problem until 2004, when he used the occasion of a major physics conference to announce he'd devised a calculation that proved he was wrong.

    As the losing party, he presented Preskill with a baseball encyclopedia from which information could easily be retrieved. The bet was covered globally, as was the scientific question at the heart of it -- and Hawking's embrace of his own error."

    "Hawking's humility and graciousness would be rare in any age, but particularly at a time when conceding even the slightest error is viewed as a weakness to be derided and exploited. As key scientific fields like climate change and vaccinations become politicized, this kind of rigidity also infects how we do and don't discuss them.

    Public-facing scientists become reluctant to concede uncertainty about data for fear that the admission will undermine funding and support for their research. The result: well-intentioned intellectuals who feel obligated to present science as a series of truths not to be argued or doubted."


    eta: although I'm not sure about the 'well-intentioned' bit in their (SW,MS) case.

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