September 03, 2006

J.B.S. Haldane

[Biology_] I first got to know J.B.S. Haldane as the author of one of my favorite quotes:

"I have come to the conclusion that my subjective account of my own motivation is largely mythical on almost all occasions. I don't know why I do things."

How prescient of him before we knew about Libet's half second delay and Gazzaniga's split brain patients.

It turns out he has very nice articles on the physics of animals and the future of science. What is it with these Scots?
On Being the Right Size

Also here are his predictions on the future of science written in 1923:
Daedalus, or, Science and the Future

With the exception of his pessimism on atomic power and optimism on the progress of biology and eugenics, I'd say he has quite a few accurate observations. On the evils of science I like how he turns the argument around and says the magnification of good and evil by science is what forces the common man to finally take action:

"I think then that the tendency of applied science is to magnify injustices until they become too intolerable to be borne, and the average man whom all the prophets and poets could not move, turns at least and extinguishes the evil at its source."

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