‘ “Science” is not, as some people imagine, memorizing a list of facts (such as the names of the planets). Nor is the progress of science determined by laboratory experiments. This is because, at the edge of our knowledge, accepted laboratory experiments don’t exist and, in certain fields, laboratory experiments might not even be possible. Rather, the progress of science is determined by free inquiry, open discussion, and transparency among those engaged in a discipline.’
– Clifford F. Thies (Context)
‘..the mathematical economist, by making the human terms of “input” irrelevant, may be striking most deleterious blows at individual creativity.’
– John Chamberlain (Context)
‘Mathematicians deserve much of the blame for the Aristotelian inertia that has obstructed progress for so long. Leibniz was a mathematician; the findings of Richard Carrington and Kristian Birkeland, since proven true, were mainly opposed with mathematical arguments; and today’s astronomers have a penchant for such mathematical fantasies as string theory, black holes, Big Bang analysis, and so on, which prevent any genuine understanding of the universe.
This state of affairs is hardly surprising. By nature, mathematicians are attracted to numerical precision, regularity and a cosmos running with a clockwork stability. For those with an instinctive visceral aversion to phenomena that are irregular, unpredictable or hard to measure and calculate, a universe with cometary intrusions, planets prone to orbital adjustments and stars of which the age and distance cannot be confidently inferred must be a nightmare.
Who is to say nature cares about a propensity for human number games? A scientist deserving of the name must bow to observational evidence and accept that good observations and traditions take precedence over theoretical preferences. Maths must be ancillary, not dominant, as the intellectual stupor of the Aristotelian outlook gives way to a Platonic curiosity and acceptance of what is.’
– Rens Van der Sluijs, An Aristotelian Hangover, Dec 01, 2009