Findings Quotes (6 quotes)
A recognized fact which goes back to the earliest times is that every living organism is not the sum of a multitude of unitary processes, but is, by virtue of interrelationships and of higher and lower levels of control, an unbroken unity. When research, in the efforts of bringing understanding, as a rule examines isolated processes and studies them, these must of necessity be removed from their context. In general, viewed biologically, this experimental separation involves a sacrifice. In fact, quantitative findings of any material and energy changes preserve their full context only through their being seen and understood as parts of a natural order.
All scientific theories are provisional and may be changed, but ... on the whole, they are accepted from Washington to Moscow because of their practical success. Where religion has opposed the findings of science, it has almost always had to retreat.
All scientists must focus closely on limited targets. Whether or not one’s findings on a limited subject will have wide applicability depends to some extent on chance, but biologists of superior ability repeatedly focus on questions the answers to which either have wide ramifications or lead to new areas of investigation. One procedure that can be effective is to attempt both reduction and synthesis; that is, direct a question at a phenomenon on one integrative level, identify its mechanism at a simpler level, then extrapolate its consequences to a more complex level of integration.
Science differs from politics or religion, in precisely this one discipline: we agree in advance to simply reject our own findings when they have been shown to be in error.
Scientific inquiry would thus he conceived of as analogous to terrestrial exploration, whose product—geography—yields results of continually smaller significance which fill in ever more minute gaps in our information. In such a view, later investigations yield findings of ever smaller importance, with each successive accretion making a relatively smaller contribution to what has already come to hand. The advance of science leads, step by diminished step, toward a fixed and final view of things.
What matters in science is the body of findings and generalizations available today: a time-defined cross-section of the process of scientific discovery. I see the advance of science as self-erasing in the sense that only those elements survive that have become part of the active body of knowledge.