Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Progress of Science

There is a quote attributed to Asimov
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'
which is plausible, but apparently no one can source it.

I can find it in CS Lewis's Miracles much earlier, however
For of course science actually proceeds by concentrating not on the regularities of Nature but on her apparent irregularities. It is the apparent irregularity that prompts each new hypothesis.
Does anyone know an earlier version of the idea? Lewis would be likely to say it was based on something he had read in (Roger) Bacon or Oresme. I find when I look such things up, however, that I don't see the connection as clearly as he did.


Dubbahdee said...

I'm not sure Bacon would have thought of "science" in quite the same way. Our definition of that branch of philosophy is much more clearly developed than in Bacon's time. Or perhaps clearly isn't the right term. Certainly, "more developed" is accurate.

Texan99 said...

It's very much my favorite plot device: the slice-of-life, with an unassuming protagonist who suddenly notices an anomaly. A wonderful setup for my beloved disaster movies, as well as lot of science fiction and supernatural thrillers, but it's also the thing that's most fun about biopics of inventors.