Cargo Cult Science:
Some Remarks on Science,
Learning How to
Not Fool Yourself
Question: What do witch doctors, ESP, South Sea Islanders, rhinoceros horns, and Wesson Oil have to do with college graduation? Answer: They're all examples the crafty Feynman uses to convince departing graduates that honesty in science is more rewarding than all the kudos and temporary successes in the world. In this address to Caltech's class of 1974, Feynman gives a lesson in scientific integrity in the face of peer pressure and glowering funding agencies.
During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as that a piece of rhinoceros horn would increase potency. (Another crazy idea of the Middle Ages is these hats we have on today--which is too loose in my case.) Then a