Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too good to be true

Off topic: Here is the promised reference for John Maynard Smith's essay in Nature debunking the notion that the "beauty" of a scientific theory implies anything about its truth. Maynard Smith asks the reader to try to think of the most beautiful false hypothesis ever proposed; his own candidate is very beautiful (and very clever) indeed.

Maynard Smith, J. 1999. Too good to be true. Nature v. 400, p. 223.

Actually, perhaps this post isn't entirely off-topic: Maynard Smith considers Kelvin's incorrect estimate of the age of the Earth as a candidate, but rejects it as insufficiently clever.

1 comment:

Dr. Fox said...

Of course, if the theory of evolution by natural selection were false, it would easily be the most beautiful incorrect idea ever.