Ignorance – curse or bliss?

Ignorance is widely considered the curse that prevents human progress, and even the term ‘blissful ignorance’ is usually meant to be derogatory. But could there be reason for a more positive notion of ignorance? Let’s find out. You might take the boyish view of Calvin & Hobbes as a start: “The secret to happiness is short-term, stupid, self-interest.” Of course this is utterly childish, and […]

Post-factual innovation?

When I learned that the Oxford Dictionary had identified ‘post-truth’ as the Word of the Year 2016, I really felt like I was slapped in the face. For somebody with a passion for science and knowledge, it just hurts. But it is true, the one new concept that dominated public discourse in 2016 was that thing […]

Where did growth come from?

… or more precisely, where did the idea of growth come from? That’s one of the questions I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. And reading Joel Mokyr’s recent A Culture of Growth, I feel like getting closer to an answer. Before and after the Industrial Revolution With the benefit of historical hindsight, and at a […]

On the freedom and responsibility of science

The freedom of science is a highly valued and widely appreciated principle. Or so I thought – until Andy Borowitz reminded me of the contrary with his recent news satire in The New Yorker, in which he mocks the growing anti-knowledge attitude in some parts of the U.S. political establishment. Thus triggered to think twice, I’ll dwell a little […]