Robert Pollack Quote

“The freedom to make and admit mistakes is at the core of the scientific process. If we are asked to forswear error, or worse, to say that error means fraud, then we cannot function as scientists.”

Ratings and Comments

David L Rosenthal

Nevertheless, those whose errors lead to misdeeds, atrocities, crimes, or tragedy must bear whatever degree of blame properly belongs to them. "I am sorry" does not erase terrible consequences of error. Scientists have the same obligations as the rest of us to avoid doing harm.

Mike, Norwalk

David is absolutely right though the subject matter of the quote has to be taken on its face. All true laws are absolute. The founders called it the law of nature or natural law (today's 'liberals' & 'conservatives' reject natural law because it condemns their sorted agendas). The closer man places his statutes and scientific understanding to the law, the greater the freedom, spirituality, and scientific advancements. Man's understanding and application of the science of chemistry, math, life, economics, etc. will only advance through trial and error.

E Archer, NYC

It's called "learning." There is no other way to acquire knowledge than to make 'mistakes' and apply the knowledge gained so that it won't happen again. It is the basis of tolerance and understanding but not blind faith.

  • Reply
EGL, LA    9/21/06

This is obviously a truism, and only rather inane because it is relating something inherent to the scientific process (and rightly so to "all learning" per Archer) but is presented here as if it is some kind of revelation when it could not really be otherwise. It functions more as a simple definition.


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