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100 Most Important Science Books

Nick Medford nick at hermit0.demon.co.uk
Fri Nov 12 20:03:24 EST 1999

In article <m7zowjqo08.fsf at skaggs.bns.pitt.edu>, Bill Skaggs
<skaggs at bns.pitt.edu> writes
>Assorted people write:
>> >> I think it was Karl Popper who said "physics is the only true science- the
>> >> rest are mere butterfly-collecting", or words to that effect. Not sure
>> >that I
>> >> agree, but a point worth considering.
>> >
>> >Since when was butterfly collecting not a science?
>> >
>The actual quote is "All science is either physics or stamp
>collecting" and it was Ernest Rutherford who said it, not Popper
>(unless he said something very similar that I don't know about).

Thanks for the correction. Amazing! I finally learnt something worthwhile
from Usenet.

>I would like to point out that there are meaningful differences
>between butterfly collecting and stamp collecting.
Well, yeah.  For one thing, butterflies don't come with their own adhesive.
And it would be downright weird if stamps underwent metamorphosis.

If you mean that one is more scientific than the other, I wouldn't agree. In
terms of the intellectual activity involved, they seem pretty similar to me.
You catch your butterfly, check in a book to identify it, and label it
accordingly. Or- you get your stamp, check in a book....etc. Or does
butterfly collecting have other dimensions?

>       -- Bill

Nick Medford

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