Vincent Ike captures the thread spun by Christian Huygens three centuries ago and illustrates the true nature of science.
One will see such demonstrations here, which do not offer so much certainty as those of geometry, from which they differ so much; Where engineering standards prove their proposals on certain undisputed places, here the validity of the buildings is proven through the conclusions drawn from them; It couldn’t be otherwise, of course.
This is how Christian Huygens began his treatise on light in 1690. Huygens was the first to say that all science begins with a hypothesis, or hypothesis, that can be tested through observations and experiments. A revolutionary text indeed, and for astronomer Vincent Icke, it was the starting point for an article he wrote at the behest of philosophers Frank Meester and Quinn Simon. It’s part 24 of their series new light (Published by Prometheus).
It’s a great article, written with Van Ecke’s well-known flair. And a useful article, at a time when science is based on a debate between fact versus opinion. Using Huygens’ text, Icke explains that science is the uncertainty, the research, and the guesswork of what lies beyond reality. Science isn’t about the question, it’s about the hypothesis.
Not for the sake of knowledge, but for the sake of understanding. “The product of science is understanding, and knowledge is the most important by-product.”
Perception, awareness, intelligence and understanding. in this order
In passing, he attacks research funders who want upfront guarantees of results and applicability; to religion, which presupposes certainty and does not allow any doubt; and artificial intelligence. A computer can play chess great, but unlike humans, it cannot derive the rules of the game from a whole series of positions.
The essence of the article is a brief and clear treatment of the heart of science: perception – awareness – intelligence – understanding. In this order. This scientific nature was distinguished by Huygens three centuries ago, but even today many people have a completely different view of it.
Science does not produce absolute truths that last forever, but rather gives an ever-evolving picture of reality. It depends on the failures, urges Icke: “The thing that is not right for a physicist is a seed of potatoes for a farmer.”
The light between truth and science
Prometheus. 128 pages, 15 euros
Science is simplicity
British professor Jonjo McFadden walks through the history of science with the help of a medieval monk.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”