Feynman – I know what it means to know something

Do know what it means to know something? About your business? Those that know something, really know it, about their business or life or themselves are the ones who can see what happens next, will have a good guess about future outcomes and can easily adapt to changes. Feynman goes off on a fine rip here about fakesters:

“Because of the success of science, there is, I think, a kind of pseudoscience. Social science is an example of a science which is not a science; they don’t do [things] scientifically; they follow the forms — you gather data, you do so-and-so and so forth but they don’t get any laws, they haven’t found out anything…. You see, I have the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have to be about checking the experiment, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself. I know what it means to know something, and therefore I see how they get their information and I can’t believe they know it, they haven’t done the work necessary, haven’t done the checks necessary, haven’t done the care necessary. I have a great suspicion that they don’t know, that this stuff is [wrong], and they’re intimidating people.”

You’d swear he was talking about the new breed of Twitter ninja coaches popping up around the place guaranteeing that you can make money from twitter by adding 5,000 to your reading list, hiring people to fake your messages, target influencers while ignoring the peasants and link to affiliate crap in every message. Pseudo happens. In every situation and industry.

3 Responses to “Feynman – I know what it means to know something”

  1. Noel Rock says:

    Seems as though he’s taking a broader swipe than that Damien; seems as though he’s arguing against economists and sociology and perhaps psychology there. I’d like to agree with him, but both have a lot of merits and have overcome a lot of barriers to even get the recognition they have today…

  2. Eoin says:

    He got it right: he doesn’t know much about the world.

  3. Peter Tanham says:

    I don’t think he’s taking about fraudsters/fakesters, so much as just ordinary people who let assumptions form their opinions.

    The world would be a better place if people were more eager to say “I don’t know” rather than “here’s my 2 cents”.

    But having an opinion is a very natural human thing to do, (and I find myself doing it quite often!), and not knowing is a very uncomfortable state to be in.

    This, unfortunately, leads to social meeja ninjas, pseudo-scientists, and even religion… all because the mind prefers a conspiracy theory of half-truth to not knowing.

    I still think it’s a worthwhile price to pay for our curiosity.