Certainty

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Full Title or Meme

A little vagueness is less likely to cause irreparable harm than absolute certainty.

Context

We live in an age where we are giving increasing amounts on control to automatic processes. We need to step back to be sure that this is not a grievous mistake.

Bertrand Russel [1] (Philosopher, U of Cambridge)
everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise
John Tukey[2] (Statistician, U. of St. Andrews)
Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than the exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.

References

  1. Bertrand Russel The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (1918-19) Lecture 1: Facts and Propositions
  2. John Tukey Ann. Math. Stat. 33 (1962)