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Albert Einstein's Lesson on Scientific Humility.
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January 28, 2015
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August 17, 2016 - 3:04 pm
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I once heard a story about the famous Albert Einstein. I have no idea whether it is true or not. As the story goes, Einstein would periodically give a series of lectures on his celebrated theory of relativity. In this one particular lecture Albert Einstein could sense by the temperament of the audience that they were having some difficulties in understand his theory.

As the story continues, Einstein left the lecture somewhat disappointed. One of Einstein’s assistants who attended the lecture asked what was troubling him. Einstein went on to say that he sensed that the audience just did not understand the lecture. The assistant tried to make Albert Einstein feel better when he said the following, “You know Albert, there are 2 areas of infinite vastness, the first is outer space and the second is man’s ignorance”.

The Einstein story brings home the fact that mankind lacks humility. We humans are very reluctant to admit when do not understand something or when we are wrong. Even if we do not have a clue as to the cause, many times we will offer up a cogent explanation to conceal our ignorance.

In another step to cover up our ignorance on a subject matter we will demand "proof" instead of asking questions, even if the questions might be thought of as dumb. James Le Fanu M.D states the following; "science is a search for the explanation of how things work, not a search for something called "proof" that by direct implication, prevents questioning."

The worst thing of all is whenever humans make a technological or a scientific breakthrough they have this penchant to place themselves on a pedestal to be praised. The more mankind praises himself in this manner the farther removed he becomes from nature.  

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