204 Sourced quotes
Perhaps more striking is the accuracy of many of Marx's best-known qualitative predictions about the tendencies of capitalist development: capitalism continues to conquer the globe; its effect is the gradual erasure of cultural and regional identities; growing economic inequality is the norm in the advanced capitalist societies; where capitalism triumphs, market norms gradually dominate all spheres of life, public and private; class position continues to be the defining determinant of political outlook; the dominant class dominates the political process which, in turn, does its bidding; and so on.
In both quantum theory and general relativity, we encounter predictions of physically sensible quantities becoming infinite. This is likely the way that nature punishes impudent theorists who dare to break her unity.... If infinities are signs of missing unification, a unified theory will have none. It will be what we call a finite theory.
We often interact with professionals who exercise their judgment with evident confidence, sometimes priding themselves on the power of their intuition. In a world rife with illusions of validity and skill, can we trust them? How do we distinguish the justified confidence of experts from the sincere overconfidence of professionals who do not know they are out of their depth? We can believe an expert who admits uncertainty but cannot take expressions of high confidence at face value. As I first learned on the obstacle field, people come up with coherent stories and confident predictions even when they know little or nothing. Overconfidence arises because people are often blind to their own blindness.
Gu was a worrier, a neurotic curmudgeon. If he had a headache, it was a brain tumor; if it looked like rain, this year's harvest was ruined. This was his way of controlling the situation, his lifelong strategy for always coming out ahead. Now, when reality looked more dire than any of his fatalisitic predictions, he had no choice but to turn tail and charge in the opposite direction.
In this acausal world, scientists are helpless. Their predictions become postdictions- Their equations become justifications, their logic, illogic. Scientists turn reckless and mutter like gamblers who cannot stop betting. Scientists are buffoons, not because they are rational but because the cosmos is irrational. Or perhaps it is not because the cosmos is irrational but because they are rational. Who can say which, in an acausal world?
If a comet have not the orbit that astronomers have predicted - perturbed. If - like Halley's comet - it be late - even a year late - perturbed. When a train is an hour late, we have small opinion of the predictions of time tables. When a comet's a year late, all we ask is - that it be explained.
Some of the most wonderful aspects and consequences of evolution have been discovered only recently. This is in stark contrast to creationism, which offers a static view of the world, one that cannot be challenged or tested with reason. And because it cannot make predictions, it cannot lead to new discoveries, new medicines, or new ways to feed all of us.
Theorists will often complain that experimentalists ignore their work. Let a theorist produce just one theory of the type sketched above (i.e., one that makes nonobvious verified predictions) and the world will jump to the conclusion (not always true) that he has a special insight into difficult problems.
Nature has raised the curtain of futurity, and displayed before him [Man] the succession of her decrees, so far as they effect the physical universe, for countless ages to come; and the revelations of which she has made him the instrument, are supported and verified by a never-ceasing train of predictions fulfilled.
By gradually studying matter, people finally take command of it. Their predictions concerning it, proved by the facts, become ever more accurate. They use it more widely and more frequently to satisfy their needs. There are no grounds to think that knowledge and our mastery over matter have bounds.