Thursday, November 20, 2014

Asymptotically Closer

The truth may be puzzling.  It may take some work to grapple with.  It may be counterintuitive.  It may contradict deeply held prejudices.  It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true.  But our preferences do not determine what's true.  We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth -- never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities.  Cleverly designed experiments are the key.

-- Carl Sagan (1934-1996), American astronomer and popular science writer, "Wonder and Skepticism", Skeptical Inquirer 19 (1), January-February 1995

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