Of heaps of stones, facts, or words — a guest post by Nitay Arbel

My guest post at the writer’s blog Mad Genius Club.

The Scientist must put things in order. Science is built of facts, as a house is built of  stones [and a book of words]. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house [or a stream of words a book].
(Henri Poincaré.)

 

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Of heaps of stones, facts, or words — Nitay Arbel

Thus spake our Beautiful but Evil Space Mistress’s sensei in “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long”:

What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

Amen. It is impossible to do science (or engineering) without facts, just as it is impossible to write a book without words. But are facts all that is needed? Or for that matter, are words all that is needed to write a book?

Robert Heinlein always liked Renaissance (wo)men, and had he ever met the French polymath Henri Poincaré…

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