Feynman Video / For those who don’t “get” science – esp. Psychologists


From the master of “concrete” description – using examples from mundane reality to reveal the “way the universe works”.

Of special importance is the segment that begins at 11:00 minutes, in which he “explains” something I have been desperately trying to point out about the misuse of mathematics in the “social” sciences – especially in psychology; that is:

Mathematics that are needed to deal with large numbers are tricks and gimmicks – no one actually “does the math” – the math “tricks” are a way of doing something that would be laborious otherwise. That is, math provides a short-cut to an end point that avoids tremendous time and effort doing calculations.

My comment – these mathematical “gimmicks” would be like switching from pounding  a nail into a board with a rock, to using a nail gun to drive hundreds of nails in a very short time. The mistake that “modern practioners” of pseudoscience make (social sciences) is that they believe that the “nail gun” (the math tools) reveal or produce “meaning”this is a fatal flaw in understanding. 

As Feynman says; You can teach a student to “perform” and apply the math tricks, and call them “highly educated people” but of you ask them the “why” of what “is” they have no answer – they do not understand the “it” of what is being investigated.  

They do not even understand what “math is”!

Of course, this is no obstacle for “psychologists” – they go about thinking that the nail gun, which is merely a tool, IS THE CARRIER OF MEANING – in particular, the “meaning” that they personally desire to “discover” or more often, impose on human beings, that is – to impose on nature. They are functioning in the same way as the Mayan priests Feynman uses in his example: caught in a trap of interpreting numbers as “magic” powers. They are worshipping the nail gun.


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