On Science, Belief, Courage and Regret

As the old year winds down and the new year approaches it’s time to take stock of our beliefs and increase awareness of what’s emerging in the world around us. Reminiscent of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the following quote from Charles Sanders Peirce’s Of Reasoning in General says so much:

“Notwithstanding all that was to be said in favor of the theory, those men must, if they be coldly logical, have foreseen when they staked their fortunes upon that hypothesis, that the chances were that it would prove to be unfounded. Nevertheless, on they marched, a forlorn hope attacking a terrible problem; and if they are good scientific men, they must be ready any day to come forward and declare that the evidence now is, the whole thing is a delusion. A degree of heroism is required to maintain that attitude, which is all the more sublime that the mass of mankind, instead of praising such recantation, will look upon it as utterly contemptible.”