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Becoming Prolific

I've been thinking lately about how to become more prolific.

The equal-odds rule says that the average publication of any particular scientist does not have any statistically different chance of having more of an impact than any other scientist's average publication. In other words, those scientists who create publications with the most impact, also create publications with the least impact, and when great publications that make a huge impact are created, it is just a result of "trying" enough times. This is an indication that chance plays a larger role in scientific creativity than previously theorized.

- http://www.amazon.com/review/RV4Y43WKRK6LO

I look at the sheer volume of work produced by someone like Einstein in science, or Robert Heinlein in fiction, and y'know what? Much of their stuff isn't good. Much of Einstein's observations outside of physics are pretty bad and off-base, he recommends courses of political action that were tried later and led to totalitarianism. If he were alive today, he'd no doubt say "mea culpa" - "I was wrong", especially in his opinions on the Soviet Union.

But it doesn't matter, because his good work is incredible. Even trying to understand special relativity makes it clear how amazing his work is (best guide to relativity for laymen I've found). It doesn't matter if you get some things wrong if you get one or two important things right.

Science and Democracy or Four Dogmas about the role of Science as a Source of Knowledge

On Philosophy Assists

I’d like to share some thoughts on why I think science, or more precisely the scientific method is essentially the most democratic source of knowledge. This insight, to me, expresses one of the most fundamental things there are to understand about science and it dispels four dogmas that I used to believe to be true. That’s why I will show how democratic the scientific method is by working along those dogmas.

Science cannot be about indisputable truth because what science holds to be true is constantly tested and re-assessed through observation. Truth, in science, is always to be conceived as ‘that’s all we know for now’. To the contrary: it’s one of the hallmarks of the scientific method that any hypothesis can be challenged and in fact be overturned on the basis of evidence.

Science does not need the source of authority as other sources of knowledge (religions, etc.) do. In science, we take things to be true on the basis of evidence and require no more justification. Theoretically, everyone has access to the justification by simply opening their eyes and looking. True, some expirements require a whole bunch of equipment and therefore funding, but the individual can (again, theoretically) comprehend what scientists do by reading scholarly papers in which their thought processes are made explicit. Nobody is required to blindly accept what is claimed to be true.

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