The meaning of it all


I’ve been really slow on my reading this year — half the year is past and I’ve just read two books so far. I’ve been even slower in writing about those two books :-(

{{ http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/53/ba/417fb2c008a0a4de70216010.L.jpg?180|The meaning of it all}}

So the first book is called [[http://www.amazon.com/Meaning-All-Thoughts-Citizen-Scientist/dp/0465023940/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-1621270-8180615?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1183001587&sr=8-1|The meaning of it all: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist]] by the legendary physicist [[wp>Richard_Feynman|Richard P. Feynman]]. It is a compilation of three essays by Feyman… actually thats not very accurate. Its a //transcription// of three //lectures// given by him at University of Washington in 1963.

In the first lecture Feynman talks about the role of doubt and uncertainty in the development of science. The main point he tries to make in this lecture is that the only thing we can be certain about when doing science is the uncertainty of it, knowing that we do //not// know. The second lecture talks about the interaction of science with religion and morality. Feynman’s main take away here is that science can //not// guide our morals and ethics. The final lecture talks about a whole bunch of things: how //not// to do science, the generation of ideas, the possibility of applying the scientific method for establishing morals and ethics that work //empirically// and so on.

Its an alright book, nothing spectacular. His other books are much better. I think the biggest problem is that the book reads exactly like a transcript. So a lot of things that would have made sense had I heard the lectures, don’t make sense when put down on paper. Its a solid proof of how a presentation is so much more than the words of the speaker. I’ve heard that Feynman was a brilliant orator, and I completely believe that. But the book fails to capture that brilliance.

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