To do high, real good physics work you do need absolutely solid lengths of time, so that when you're putting ideas together which are vague and hard to remember, it's very much like building a house of cards and each of the cards is shaky, and if you forget one of them the whole thing collapses again. You don't know how you got there and you have to build them up again, and if you're interrupted and kind of forget half the idea of how the cards went together--your cards being different-type parts of the ideas, ideas of different kinds that have to go together to build up the idea--the main point is, you put the stuff together, it's quite a tower and it's easy [for it] to slip, it needs a lot of concentration--that is, solid time to thing--and if you've got a job in administering anything like that, then you don't have the solid time.
One way, that's kind of a fun analogy in trying to get some idea of what we're doing in trying to understand nature, is to imagine that the gods are playing some great game like chess, let's say, and you don't know the rules of the game, but you're allowed to look at the board, at least from time to time, in a little corner, perhaps, and from these observations you try to figure out what the rules of the game are, what the rules of the pieces moving are. You might discover after a bit, for example, that when there's only one bishop around on the board that the bishop maintains its color. Later on you might discover the law for the bisohp as it moves on the diagonal which would explain the law that you understood before--that it maintained its color--and that would be analogous to discovering one law and then later finding a deeper understanding of it. Then things can happen, everything's going good, you've got all the laws, it looks very good and then all of a sudden some strange phenomenon occurs in some corner, so you begin to investigate that--it's castling, something you didn't expect. We're always, by the way, in fundamental physics, always trying to investigate those things in which we don't understand the conclusion. After we've checked them enough, we're okay.
I got a kick, when I was a boy, [out] of my father telling me things, so I tried to tell my son things that were interesting about the world. When he was very small we used to rock him to bed, you know, and tell him stories, and I'd make up a story about little people that were about so high [who] would walk along and they would go on picnics and so on and they lived in the ventilator; and they'd go through these woods which had great big long tall blue things like trees, but without leaves and only one stalk, and they had to walk between them and so on; and he'd gradually catch on [that] that was the rug, the nap of the rug, the blue rug, and he loved this game because I would describe all of these things from an odd point of view and he liked to hear the stories and we got all the kinds of wonderful things--he even went to a moist cave where the wind kept going in and out--it was coming in cool and went out warm and so on. It was inside the dog's nose that they went, and then of course I could tell him all about physiology by this way and so on.
I have a friend who's an artist and he's sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say, "Look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree, I think. And he says--"you see, I as an artist can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist, oh, take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing." And I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me, too, I believe, although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is; but I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time I see much more about hte flower than he sees. I can imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension of one centimeter, there is also beauty at a smaller dimension, the inner structure, evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting--it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: Does this aesthetic sens also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which shows that a science knowledge only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds; I don't understand how it subtracts.
My cousin, at that time, who was three years older, was in high school and was having considerable difficulty with his algebra and had a tutor come, and I was allowed to sin in a corder while (LAUGHS) the tutor would try to teach my cousin algebra, problems liek 2x plus something. I said to my cousin then, "What're you trying to do?" You know, I hear him talking about x. He says, "What do you know--2x 7 is equal to 15," he says "and you're trying to find out what x is." I says, "You mean 4." He says, "Yeah, but you did it with arithmetic, you have to do it by algebra," and that's why my cousin was never able to do algebra, because he didn't understand how he was supposed to do it. There was no way. I learnt algebra fortunately by not going to school and knowing the whole idea was to find out what x was and it didn't make any difference who you did it--there's no such thing as, you know, you do it by arithmetic, you do it by algebra--that was a false thing that they had invented in school so that the children who have to study algebra can all pass it. They had invented a set of rules which if you followed them without thinking could produce the answer: subtract 7 from both sides, if you have a multiplier divide both sides by the multiplier and so on, and a series of steps by which you could get the answer if you didn't understand what you were trying to do.
The first thing that you would worry about when things get very small is Brownian motion--everything is shaking about and nothing stays in place. How can you control the circuits then? Furthermore, if a circuit does work, doesn't it now have a chance of accidentally jumping back? If we use two volts for the energy of this electric system, which is what we ordinarily use, that is eighty times the thermal energy at room temperature (kT=1/40 volt) and the chance that something jumps backward against 80 times thermal energy is e, the base of the natural logarithm, to the power minus eighty, or 10^-43. What does that mean? If we had a billion transistors in a computer (which we don't yet have), all of them switching 10^10 times a second (a switching time of a tenth of a nanosecond), switching perpetually, operating for 10^9 seconds, which is 30 years, the total number of switching operations in such a machine is 10^28. The chance of one of the transistors going backward is only 10^-43, so there will be no error produced by thermal oscillations whatsoever in 30 years. If you don't like that, use 2.5 volts and then the probability gets even smaller. Long before that, real failures will come when a cosmic ray accidentally goes through the transistor, and we don't have to be more perfect than that.
The great discovery of Bennett and, independently, of Fredkin is that it is possible to do computation with a different kind of fundamental gate unit, namely, a reversible gate unit. I have illustrated their idea--with a unit which I could call a reversible NAND gate. It has thre inputs and thre outputs. Of the outputs, tow, A' and B', are the same as two of the inputs, A and B, but the third input works this way. C' is the same as C unless A and B are both 1, in which case it changes whatever C is. For instance, if C is 1 it is changed to 0, if C is 0 it is changed to 1--but these changes only happen if both A and B are 1. If you put two of these gates in succession, you see that A and B will go through, and if C is not changed in both it stays the same. If C is changed, it is changed twice so that it stays the same. So this gate can reverse itself and no information has been lost. It is possible to discover what wnet in if you know what came out.
If we somehow manage to make an atomic size computer, it would mean that the dimension, the linear dimension, is a thousand to ten thousand times smaller than those very tiny chips that we have now. It means that the volume of the computer is 100 billionth or 10^-11 of the present volume, because the volume of the "transistor" is smaller by a factor of 10^-11 than the transistors we make today. The energy requirements for a single switch is also about eleven orders of magnitude smaller than the energy required to switch the transistor today, and the time to make the transitions will be at least ten thousand times faster per step of calculation.
What then is the meaning of the whole world? We do not know what the meaning of existence is. We say, as the result of studying all of the views that we have had before, we find that we do not know the meaning of existence; but in saying that we do knot know the meaning of existence, we have probably found the open channel--if we will allow only that, as we progress, we leave open opportunities for alternatives , that we do not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth, but remain always uncertain--[that we] "hazard it." The English, who have developed their government in this direction, call it "muddling through," and although a rather silly, stupid sounding thing, it is the most scientific way of progressing. To decide upon the answer is not scientific. In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar--ajar only. We are only at the beginning of the development of the human race; of the development of the human mind, of intelligent life--we have years and years in the future. It is our responsibility not to give the answer today as to what it is all about, to drive everybody down in that direction and to say: "This is a solution to it all." Because we will be chained then to the limits of our present imagination. We will only be able to do those things that we think today are the things to do. Whereas, if we leave always some room for doubt, some room for discussion, and proceed tin a way analogous to the sciences, then this difficulty will not arise.
The remark which I read somewhere, that science is all right so long as it doesn't attack religion, was the clue that I needed to understand the problem. As long as it doesn't attack religion it need not be paid attention to and nobody has to learn anything. So it can be cut off from modern society except for its applications, and thus be isolated. And then we have this terrible struggle to try to explain things to people who have no reason to want to know. But if they want to defend their own point of view, they will have to learn what yours is a little bit. So I suggest, maybe incorrectly and perhaps wrongly, that we are too polite.
Now, it might be true that astrology is right. It might be true that if you go to the dentist on the day that Mars is at right angles to Venus, that it is better than if you go on a different day. It might be true that you can be cured by the miracle of Lourdes. But if it is true it ought to be investigated. Why? To improve it. If it is true then maybe we can find out if the stars do influence life; that we could make the system more powerful by investigating statistically, scientifically judging the evidence objectively, more carefully. If the healing process works at Lourdes, the question is how far from the site of the miracle can the person, who is ill, stand? ... Or is it possible,as it is with the saints which have recently been created in the United States--there is a saint who cured leukemia apparently indirectly--that ribbons that are touched to the sheet of a the sick person (the ribbon having previously touched some relic of the saint) increase the cure of leukemia--the question is, is tit gradually being diluted? You may laugh, but if you believe in the truth of the healing, then you are responsible to investigate it, to improve its efficiency and to make ti satisfactory instead of cheating.
It is one of the most remarkable things that in all of the biological sciences there is no clue as to the necessity of death. If you say we want to make perpetual motion, we have discovered enough laws as we studied physics to see that it is either absolutely impossible or else the laws are wrong. But there is nothing in biology yet found that indicates the inevitability of death. This suggests to me that it is not at all inevitable, and that it is only a matter of time before the biologists discover what it is that is causing us the trouble and that that terrible universal disease or temporariness of the human's body will be cured. Anyhow, you can see that there will be problems of a fantastic magnitude coming from biology.
I have estimaged how many letters there are in a the Enclyclopaedia, and I have assumed that each of my 24 million books is as big as an Encyclopaedia volume, and have calculated, then, how many bits of information there are (10^15). For each bit I allow 100 atoms. And it turns out that all of the information that man has carefully accumulated in all the books in the world can be written in this form in a cube of material one two-hundredths of an inch wide--which is the barest piece of dust that canbe made out by the human eye. So there is plenty of room at the bottom! Don't tell me about microfilm!
This fact--that enormous amounts of information can be carried in an exceedingly small space--is, of course, well known to the biologists, and resolves the mystery which existed before we understood all this clearly, of how it could be that, in the tiniest cell, all of the information for the organization of a complex creature such as ourselves can be stored. All this information--whether we have brown eyes, or whether we think at all, or that in the embryo the jawbone should first develop with a little hole in the side so that later a nerve can grow through it--all this information is contained in a very tiny fraction of the cell in the form of a long-chain DNA molecules in which approximately 50 atoms are used for one bit of information about the cell
We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. There are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions and pass them on. It is our responsibility to leave the men of the future a free hand. In the impetuous youth of humanity, we can make grave errors that can stunt our growth for a long time. This we will do if we say we have the answers now, so young and ignorant; if we suppress all discussion, all criticism, saying, "This is it, boys, man is saved!" and thus doom man for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination. It has been don many times before.
Through all the ages men have tried to fathom the meaning of life. They have realized that if some direction or meaning could be given to our actions, great human forces would be unleashed. So, very many answers must have been given to the question of the meaning of it all. But they have been of all different sorts, and the proponents of one answer have looked with horror at the actions of the believers in another. Horror, because from a disagreeing point of view all the great potentialities of the race were being channeled into a false and confining blind alley. In fact, it is from the history of the enormous monstrosities created by false belief that philosophers have realized the apparently infinite and wondrous capacities of human beings. The dream is to find the open channel.
What, then, is the meaning of it all? What can we say to dispel he mystery of existence?
If we take everything into accoutn, not only what the ancients knew, but all of what we know today that they didn't know, then I think that we must frankly admit that we do not know.
But, in admitting this, we have probably found the open channel.
This is not a new idea; this is the idea of the age of reason. This is the philosophy that guided men who made the democracy that we live under. The idea that no one really knew how to run a government led to the idea that we should arrange a system by which new ideas could be developed, tried out, tossed out, more new ideas broght in; a trial and error system. This method was a result of the fact taht science was already showing itself to be a successful venture at the end of the 18th centruy. Event then itwas clear to socially minded people taht the openness of the possibilities was an opportunity, and that doubt and discussion were essential to progress into the unknown. If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar.
I would now like to turn to a third value that science has. It is a little more indirect, but not much. The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't now the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he as a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize the ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty--some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.
Is nobody inspired by our present picture of the universe? The value of science remains unsung by singers, so you are reduced to hearing--not a song or a poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.
Perhaps one of the reasons is that you have to know how to read the music. For instance, the scientific, article says, perhaps, something like this: "The radioactive phosphorus content of the cerebrum of a rat decreases to one-half in the period of two weeks." Now, what does that mean?
it means that phosphorus that is in the brain of the rat (and also in mine, and yours) is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago, but that all of the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced, and the ones that were there before have gone away.
So what is this mind, what are these atoms with consciousness? Last weeks potatoes! That is what now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago--a mind which has long ago been replaced.
That is what it means when one discovers who long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms, to note that the thing which I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance. That atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, then go out; always new atoms but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.
From time to time, people suggest to me that scientists ought to give more consideration to social problems--especially that they should be more responsible in considering the impact of science upon society. This same suggestion must be made to many other scientists, and it seems to be generally believed that if the scientists would only look at these very difficult social problems and not spend so much time fooling with the less vital scientific ones, great success would come of it.
It seems to me taht we do think about these problems from time to time, but we don't put full-time effort into them--the reason being that we know we don't have any magic formula for solving problems, that social problems are very much arder than scientific ones, and that we usually don't get anywhere when we do think about them.
I believe taht a scientist looking at noscientific problems is just as dumb as teh next guy--and when he talks about a nonscientific matter, he will sound as naive as anyone untrained in the matter.
Another value of science is the fun called intellectual enjoyment which some people get from reading and learning and thinking about it, and which others get from working in it. This is a very real and important point and one which is not considered enough by those who tell us it is our social responsibility to reflect on the impact of science on society.
Is this mere personal enjoyment of value to society as a whole? No! But it is also a responsibility to consider the value of society itself. Is it, in the last analysis, to arrange things so that people can enjoy things? If so, the enjoyment of science is as important as anything else.
What science is, I think, may be something like this: There was on this planet an evolution of life to the stage that there were evolved animals, which are intelligent. I don't mean just human beings, but animals which play and which can learn something from experience (like cats). But at this stage each animal would have to learn from its own experience. They gradually develop, until some animal coudl learn from experience by watching, or one could show the other, or he saw what the other one did. So there came a possiblity that all might learn it, but the transmission was inefficient and they would die, and maybe the one who learned it died, too, before he could pass it on to others.
The question is, is it possible to learn more rapidly what somebody learned from some accident than the rate at which the thing is being forgotten, either because of bad memory or because of death of the learner or invention?
So there came a time, perhaps, when for some species the rate at which learning was increased reached such a pitch that suddenly a completely new thing happened; things could be learned by one animal, passed on to another, and another, fast enough that it was not lost to the race. Thus became possible and accumulation of knowledge of the race.
This has been called time-binding. I don't know who first called it this. At any rate, we have here some sample of those animals, sitting here trying to bind one experience to another, each one trying to learn from the other.
This phenomenon of having a memory for the race, of having an accumulated knowledge passable from one generation to another, was new in the world. But it had a disease in it. It was possible to pass on mistaken ideas. It was possible to pass on ideas which were not profitable for the race. The race has ideas, which were not profitable for the race. The race has ideas, but there are not necessarily profitable.
So there came a time in which the ideas, although accumulated very slowly, were all accumulations not only of practical and useful things, but great accumulations of all types of prejudices, and strange and odd beliefs.
Then a way of avoidign the disease was discovered. This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initiio, again from experience, what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past in the form in which it is passed down. And that is what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the race experience from the past.
The world looks so different after learning science. For example, the trees are made of air, primarily. When they are burned, they go back to air, and in the flaming heat is relased the flaming heat of the sun which was bound in to convert the air into trees, and in the ash is the small remnant of the part which did not come from air, that came from the solid earth instead.
I think it is very important--at least it was to me--that if you are going to teach people to make observations, you should show that something wonderful can come from them. I learned then what science was about. It was patience. If you looked, and you watched, and you paid attention, you got a great reward from it (although possible not every time). As a result, when I became a more mature man, I would painstakingly, hour after hour, for years, work on problems--sometimes many years, sometimes shorter times--many of them failing, lots of stuff going into the wastebasket; but every once in a while there was the gold of a new understanding that I had learned to expect when I was a kid, the result of observation. For I did not learn that observation was not worthwhile.
My father dealth a little bit with energy and used the term after I got a little bit of the idea about it. What he would have done I know, because he did in fact essentially the same thing--though not the same example of the toy dog. He would say, "It moves because the sun is shining," if he wanted to give the same lesson. I would say "No. What has that to do with the sun shining? It moved because you wound up the springs."
"And why, my friend, are you able to move to wind up this spring?"
"What, my friend, do you eat?"
"I eat plants."
"And how do they grow?"
"They grow because the sun is shining."
And it is the same with the dog. What about gasoline? Accumulated energy of the sun which is captured by plants and preserved in the ground. Other examples all end with the sun. And so the same idea about the world that our textbook is driving at is phrased in a very exciting way. All the things that we see that are moving are moving because the sun is shining. It does explain the relationship of one source of energy to another, and it can be denied by the child. He could say, "I don't think it is on account of the sun shining," and you can start a discussion. So there is a difference. (Later I could challenge him with the tides, and what makes the earth turn, and have my hand on mystery again.)
One day I'll be convinced there's a certain type of symmetry that everybody believes in, the next day I'll try to figure out the consequences if it's not, and everybody's crazy but me. But the thing that's unusual about good scientists is that while they're doing whatever they're doing, they're not so sure of themselves as others usually are. They can live with steady doubt, think "maybe it's so" and act on that, al lthe time knowing it's only "maybe." Many people find that difficult; they think it means detachment or coldness. It's not coldness! It's a much deeper and warmer understanding, and it means you can be digging somewhere where you're temporarily convinced you'll find the answer, and somebody comes up and says, "Have you seen what they're coming up with over there?", and you look up and say "Jeez! I'm in the wrong place!" It happens all the time.
There's a tendency to pomposity in all this, to make it all deep and profound. My son is taking a course in philosophy, and last night we were looking at something by Spinoza--and there was teh most childish reasoning! There were all these Attributes, and Substances, all this meaningless chewing around, and we started to laugh. Now, how could we do that? Here's this great Dutch phiosopher, and we're laughing at him. It's because there was no excuse for it! In that same period there was Newton, there was Harvey studying the circulation of the blood, there were people with methods of analysis by which progress was being made! You can take every one of Spinoza's propositions, and take the contrary propositions, and look at the world--and you can't tell which is right. Sure, people were awed because he had the courage to take on these great questions, but it doesn't do any good to have the courage to take on these great questions, but it doesn't do any good to have the courage if you can't get anywhere with the question.
Omni: Does that limit the number of people who can contribute, or even understand what's being done?
Feynman: Or else somebody will develop a way of thinking about the problems so that we can understand them more easily. Maybe they'll just teach it earlier and earlier. You know, it's not true that what is called "abstruse" math is so difficult. Take something like computer programming, and the careful logic needed for that--the kind of thinking that mama and papa would have said was only for professors. Well, now it's part of a lot of daily activities, it's a way to make a living; their children get interested and get hold of a computer and they're doing the most crazy, wonderful things!
Omni:...with ads for programming schools on every matchbook!
Feynman: Right. I don't believe in the idea that there are a few peculiar people capable of understanding math, and the rest of the world is normal. Math is a human discovery, and it's no more complicated than humans can understand. I had a calculus book once that said, "What one fool can do, another can." What we've been able to work out about nature may look abstract and threatening to someone who hasn't studied it, but it was fools who did it, and in the next generation, all fools will understand it.
Pysicists are trying to find out how nature behaves; they may talks carelessly about some "utlimate particle" because that's the way nature looks at a given moment, but... Suppose people are exploring a new continent, OK? They see water coming along the ground, they've seen that before, and they call it "rivers." So they say they're exploring to find the headwaters, they go upriver, and sure enough, there they are, it's all going very well. But lo and behold, when they get up far enough they find the whole system's different: There's a great big lake, or springs, or the rivers run in a circle. You might say, "Aha! They've failed!" but not at all! The real reason they were doing it was to explore the land. If ti turned out not to be headwaters, they might be slightly embarrassed at their carelessness in explaining themselves, but no more than that. As long as it looks like the way things are built is wheels within wheels, then you're looking for the innermost wheel--but it might not be that way, in which case you're looking for whatever the hell it is that you find!
But then I began to think, what else is there that we believe? (And I thought then about the witch doctors, and how easy it would have been to cheek on them by noticing that nothing really worked.) So I found things that even more people believe, such as that we have some knowledge of how to educate. There are big schools of reading methods and mathematics methods, and so forth, but if you notice, you'll see the reading scores keep going down--or hardly going up in spite of the fact that we continually use these same people to improve the methods. There's a witch doctor remedy that doesn't work. It ought to be looked into; how do they know that their method should work? Another example is how to treat criminals. We obviously have made no progress--lots of theory, but no progress-- in decreasing the amount of crime by the method that we use to handle criminals.
Yet these things are said to be scientific. We study them. And I think ordinary people with commonsense ideas are intimidated by this pseudoscience. A teacher who has some good idea of how to teach her children to read is forced by the school system to do it some other way--or is even fooled by the school system into thinking that her method is not necessarily a good one. Or a parent of bad boys, after disciplining them in one way or another, feels guilty for the rest of her life because she didn't do "the right thing," according to the experts.
In the Solomon Islands, as many people know, the natives didn't understand the airplanes which came down during the war and brought all kinds of goodies for the soldiers. So now they have airplane cults. They make artificial landing strips and they make fires along the landing strips to imitate the lights and this poor native sits in a wooden box he's built with wooden earphones with bamboo sticks going up to represent the antenna and turning his head back and forth, and they have radar domes made of wood and all kinds of things hoping to lure the airplanes to give goods to them. They're imitating the action. It's just what the other guy did. Well, a hell of a lot of our modern activity in many, many fields is that kind of sicence. Just like aviation. That's a science. The science of education, for example, is no science at all. It's a lot of work. It takes a lot of work to carve those things out, those wooden airplanes. Penology, prison reform-to understand why people do crimes; look at the world-we understand it more and more with our modern understanding of these things. More about education, more about crime; the scores on the tests are going tdown and there's more people in prison; young people are commiting crimes, we just don't understand it all. It just isn't working, to discover things about these things by using the scientific method in the type of imitation which they are using now.
You see the problem fo obtaining facts from experience--it sounds very, very simple. You just try it and see. But man is a weak character and it turns out to be much more difficult than you think to just try it and see. For instance, you take education. Some guy comes along and he sees the way people teach mathematics. And he says, "I have a better idea. I'll make a toy computer and teach them with it." So he tries it with a group of chidlren, he hasn't got a lot of children, maybe somebody gives him a class t otry it with. He loves what he's doing. He's excited. He understands compmletely what his thing is. The kids know that it's something new, so they're all excited. They learn very, very well and they learn the regular arithmetic better than the other kids did. So you make a test--they learn arithmetic. Then this is registered as a fact--that the teaching of arithmetic can be improved by this method. But it's not a fact, because one of the conditions of the experiment was that the particular man who inveted it was doing the teaching. What you really want to know is, if you just had this method described in a book to an average teacher (and you have to have average teachers; there are teacher all over the world and there must be many who are average), who then gets this book then tries to teach it with the method described, will ti be better or not? In other words, what happens is that you get all kinds of statements of fact about education, about sociology, even psychology--all kinds of things which are, I'd say, pseudoscience.
I would like to remark, in passing, since the word "atheism" is so closely connected with "communism," that the communist views are the antithesis of the scientific, in the sense that in communism the answers are given to all the questions - political questions as well as moral ones - without discussion and without doubt. The scientific viewpoint is the exact opposite of this; that is, all questions must be doubted and discussed; we must argue everything out - observe things, check them, and so change them. The democratic government is much closer to this idea, because there is discussion and a chance of modification. One doesn't launch the ship in a definite direction. It is true that if you have a tyranny of ideas, so that you know exactly what has to be true, you act very decisively, and it looks good - for a while. But soon the ship is heading in the wrong direction, and no one can modify the direction any more. So the uncertainties of life in a democracy are, I think, much more consistent with science.