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Tony Grist

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Stupid Proverb [Aug. 23rd, 2013|09:02 am]
Tony Grist
"Great Minds think alike".

Only they don't, do they? The whole point of great minds is that they think differently.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2013-08-23 08:25 am (UTC)
I don't think I've ever heard this saying used except as a kind of mutual face-saving flattery, when two people discover they have turned up to the conversation wearing identical mindsets. I suppose one might say, for example, "Newton and Leibniz both invented calculus - great minds think alike!" or "Wallace, Darwin, natural selection - great minds think alike!" But it doesn't generally happen.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-23 10:31 am (UTC)
Now you've started an interesting hare. Isn't it interesting that Darwin and Wallace hit on the same idea at the same time. It's as if it were already there, fully ripe- waiting for someone to pluck it out of the ether.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2013-08-23 11:33 am (UTC)
Happens quite often. The development of science builds on what comes before -- the "shoulders of giants" thing -- and, given the same set of data, the same conclusions ought to be reached.

Information points to truth, if it can be deciphered, and the same set of information points to the same truth.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2013-08-23 11:41 am (UTC)
Agreed - to which I'd add that it often happens that people are trying to solve the same problems (i.e. How can one express accelerating motion mathematically? and What is the mechanism for change in species?) - problems that would not have seemed urgent or even meaningful to earlier generations.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-23 11:50 am (UTC)
Though, as I understand it, Wallace and Darwin were working from quite different sets of data- Darwin in the South Seas and Wallace in South East Asia.

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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2013-08-23 04:29 pm (UTC)
That's a good point. Maybe steepholm's statement is more accurate -- they're trying to answer the same questions, and trying to gather SIMILAR data to do so. Even if the exact data sets are discrete, they were gathered for similar purposes.
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From: cmcmck
2013-08-23 09:40 am (UTC)
People always seem to forget the second half of that saying: 'and fools seldom differ'
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-23 10:36 am (UTC)
Ailz reminded me of that.

It's just as silly as the other really, because it's a fact that fools are always falling out and finding things to fight over.
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