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The Importance of Stupidity in Science


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13 replies to this topic

#1 nikou

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:08 PM

Just thought you might like to read this essay :)

Journal of Cell Science 121, 1771 (2008)
The Importance of Stupidity in Science
Martin A. Schwartz

http://jcs.biologist...ull/121/11/1771



Nikou

#2 Felipillo

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 05:26 AM

when things go bad at lab, it's very interesting to known why? some times it helps to do new and more useful things
Chance favors the prepared mind
Louis Pasteur.

#3 Doki

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 05:44 AM

we had this thread long ago as far as I can remember.
Simple living, highnot thinking

#4 swanny

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 08:58 PM

we had this thread long ago as far as I can remember.

True, but that was BC (before the crash)...
Heart disease kills more women than breast cancer, but heart attack symptoms differ from men's symptoms. Get to know your heart... it could save your life.

#5 madrius1

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:07 AM

This paper has won its ticket to the department's bulletin board. ^^

#6 dersven

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 06:36 AM

I think it's true what he says,... but how can one "enjoy" his/her stupidity when struggeling for grants?

#7 Nrelo

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 01:34 AM

I think it's true what he says,... but how can one "enjoy" his/her stupidity when struggeling for grants?


Absolutely true...

#8 leevonk

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 07:42 PM

there is a very stupid person in our lab that keeps breaking things.

#9 GeorgeWolff

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 04:36 AM

Title not withstanding, the paper focused on feeling stupid - not stupidity per se. Clearly neither the author nor his attorney friend were stupid.

This signficance of the article is reinforced by the comments of Linus Pauling about the discovery of the double helix. Watson Crick et al. were in competition with his lab to discover the struture (tho they were so low on the fame scale that he was barely aware of their efforts). Despite his credentials as a Nobel laureatte and the power of money and talent, he lost out. When asked years later, he said that he figured no one could compete with him intellectually, resource-wise, etc. It was his to discover and he could do it at his leisure. Pauling certainly didn't feel stupid.

Edited by GeorgeWolff, 05 July 2009 - 04:43 AM.


#10 HomeBrew

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 12:56 PM

I agree. There is a distinct difference between feeling stupid and actually being stupid...

#11 mhmtcn

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 02:16 AM

fully agree

#12 mahrak

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 10:19 AM

here's the question:
how would you figure out if you are feeling stupid or you are really stupid?!

#13 Michael Starr

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 12:39 PM

I hate feeling stupid. It's actually one of my least favorite things about science and my job.

 

And I don't think feeling smart is selfish, evil, elitist, or spoiled. There is a dignity in feeling smart. It's an acknowledgement of the vastness of information that there is that you munge through it and master it. Feeling smart is like feeling good after exercise.



#14 Trof

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 02:24 PM

I hate feeling stupid, but on the other hand the thing I hate much more than that is actully beeing stupid and failing to realize it. So I rather find I was indeed stupid (a bit) and be relieved it's not worse than that, then to be feeling like a king of the world, and then hit the ground even harder, because I miss something with my stupidity.

 

 

Also, I hardly feel smart in academic enviroment. Or actually I never felt that much even before. It is said you can only feel smart if you don't realize all the things you don't know yet (this was exactly the phases of studying for the exam, the more you studied, the more loose ends you found.. first you tought you know quite enought, just before it you felt like you know noting at all.. and then you got a decent grade dispite that feeling). At conferences, I feel tremendously.. not smart.. there are so many really really SMART people everywhere around, doing amazing research, really great ideas.. I feel enlightend by that, but at the same time I feel like I'm quite just waay below average.. but average of what? And why it does matter. I'm hungry for knowledge, maybe someone in the world can get everything much faster, learn quicker, well.. that doesn't improve my knowledge at all, the fact that there are probably many more "stupid" people then I am, that doesn't change a thing.

 

 

"Feeling good" is more like when you just find a solution to a problem, you just got an idea which you think it's new and briliant (mostly you change your mind few days later ;), your plan worked, you find where the bugg was (this one I like the most, "wonderful, now I know why I was wrong before!" :)   that is "feel good".

But if I feel smart at that time.. not really, I don't expect myself to be stupid, so I find it as fine as it should be ;))

But I'm always trying to be aware of my stupidness creeping somewhere around the corner to strike at me and laugh, "haha, you though you are smart, there you go", I hope. Still it is inevitable I guess.

It's strategically better to try to be rather humble, otherwise if you do make a mistake, you look like a bigger idiot ;)


Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon





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