"We are living in a totally ridiculous world. We have all kinds of things from horoscopes to Zen Buddhism to faith healers to religions to what have you. All kinds of things are going around in the world [...], including what politicians do and the kind of nonsense they let us swallow. The whole world around us is full of nonsense, baloney, big speak and what have you. And that of course is not new. 99% of what people do usually moves in the sphere of something which is irrational, not correct, what have you? So in this whole world of all the baloney that goes on why does it [science] exist? It's because [...] a few hundred years ago Galilei, Copernicus and these people discovered the scientific method. And the scientific method is something that allows you to make progress whereby your statement is this: In the scientific method [...] the only criterion we have is that it can be explored experimentally and if we have a theory we will believe it if it produces something that can be verified experimentally. And in this way without telling us why and how it is there we have separated our science from religion. We have found a basis on which we can access without being put on a stack and set to fire. So for science it's very essential that we take a position that through the scientific method that keeps us away of all the irrationalities that seem to dominate human activities. And I think we should stay there. And the fact that I'm busy in science has little or nothing to do with religion. In fact I protect myself, I don't want to have to do with religion. Because once I start with that I don't know where it will end. But probably I will be burned or shot or something in the end. I don't want anything to do with it. I talk about things I can observe and other things I can predict and for the rest you can have it."In graduate school Veltman came to my Institute to give a talk. I don't remember now what he talked about, but I do remember a sense of "Veltman's coming!" for a few days before he got there.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
A Wonderful Rant
I came across this delightful rant by Martinus Veltman (1999 Nobel Laureaute in Physics with Gerard 't Hooft), from an interview in 2004:
Posted by David Appell at 6/17/2012 03:56:00 PM