Muddled Thinking Is Hard to Swallow

Ever since I first became involved in research in 1932 I have been struck by the difference in quality of the thinking of even quite emi- nent scientists when they apply their minds, on the one hand, to their own specialized subjects and, on the other hand, to affairs of everyday life. Nor am I restricting my comments to the phenomenon of the distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society at the peak of a creative career who shows himself in committee to lack common sense, to say the least, when c

Magnus Pyke
Sep 20, 1987

Ever since I first became involved in research in 1932 I have been struck by the difference in quality of the thinking of even quite emi- nent scientists when they apply their minds, on the one hand, to their own specialized subjects and, on the other hand, to affairs of everyday life. Nor am I restricting my comments to the phenomenon of the distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society at the peak of a creative career who shows himself in committee to lack common sense, to say the least, when confronted by administrative problems of a university department. My point is that, all too often, the brilliant biochemist who may be able not only to spot the existence of, let us say, a previously undiscovered vitamin but then to determine its exact chemical configuration can then become involved in the intellectual “thick- ness” that people’s health will benefit by supplementing...

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