The Origins Podcast: Ricky Gervais

If you listen to one podcast episode this year make it this one. It is just brilliant.

Brilliant and right on. But that’s what quantum theory and cosmology and relativity do, as he says “It overturns all the things I held sacred in science”. So while those things still work in the world we can perceive, in fact they are all approximations of something we don’t know.

There are two other takeaways that I caught. One is that, in science, the questions are the most important thing. Not in and of themselves, but as long as you’re asking questions, there’s something new to learn.

The other was that we don’t know what we don’t know. For anyone who hasn’t heard about the knowledge quadrant, it combines question and answer as in

We know the question and we know the answer – these are what we would call facts

We know the question but we don’t know the answer – this is the realm of science, trying to move things from here to group 1.

We don’t know the question but we know the answer – something we observe but we don’t know exactly why. We have to try out various questions to see what fits the results. This one is where we get lots of false positives, studies that show something to be true that aren’t, because the right question hasn’t been asked.

We don’t know the question and we don’t know the answer – totally unknown and no place to start. It’s like saying to most people “Ask a question?” and they reply “About what?” and you say “Exactly!” Bob



Categories: Podcasts

1 reply

  1. Brilliant and right on. But that’s what quantum theory and cosmology and relativity do, as he says “It overturns all the things I held sacred in science”. So while those things still work in the world we can perceive, in fact they are all approximations of something we don’t know.

    There are two other takeaways that I caught. One is that, in science, the questions are the most important thing. Not in and of themselves, but as long as you’re asking questions, there’s something new to learn.

    The other was that we don’t know what we don’t know. For anyone who hasn’t heard about the knowledge quadrant, it combines question and answer as in

    1. We know the question and we know the answer – these are what we would call facts

    2. We know the question but we don’t know the answer – this is the realm of science, trying to move things from here to group 1.

    3. We don’t know the question but we know the answer – something we observe but we don’t know exactly why. We have to try out various questions to see what fits the results. This one is where we get lots of false positives, studies that show something to be true that aren’t, because the right question hasn’t been asked.

    4. We don’t know the question and we don’t know the answer – totally unknown and no place to start. It’s like saying to most people “Ask a question?” and they reply “About what?” and you say “Exactly!”

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