The seductiveness of beauty
By Russ Roberts
Stanford’s Andrei Linde discovers that his theory about the first nano-nano-nano-second of the universe is confirmed by the latest experimental evidence. It is very moving. EconTalk listeners will particularly enjoy his closing remarks about the dangers of confirmation bias. He says:
If this is true, this is a moment of understanding of nature, of such a magnitude, it just overwhelms. Let’s just hope that this is not a trick. I always live with this feeling–what if I am tricked, what if I believe in this just because it is beautiful…
It’s a danger for all of us–we are all at risk at being tricked. Though sometimes it’s not beauty but comfort or habit. Always good to remember. Richard Feynman said it best:
The first principle is not to fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool.
Coming next to EconTalk–John Christy and Kerry Emanuel discuss climate change.
[Addendum: Video on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOysRpdo7hY — Econlib. Ed.]