14 THE INTELLIGENT SOLUTION OF PROBLEMS the only changes which he can bring about are those which are in conformity with the laws of the universe. He learns that behind every result there is an adequate cause and that the same causes will always produce the same results. 3. He Is Curious. The truth seeker is definitely curious about cause and effect in the world in which he lives. He is interested in everything that happens. He realizes his ignorance and seeks to know. He is not complacent or indifferent to personal and social needs. He is never a disinterested bystander, but his curiosity is impersonal and disciplined because desire must be subordinated to reason. 4. He Is open-minded and Unprejudiced. The truth seeker has seen in our own generation how violent, unreasoned prejudice, class and personal hatred, and insane fear bear frightful fruits of death, destruction, and persecution. He does not want merely to obtain support for his preconceived notions — he wants to know the truth about the natural world, about politics, business, and morals, in short, about life. He is willing to lay aside lifelong convictions, the traditions of history, the morals and customs of his social class long enough to see whether or not a new fact will change his point of view. He never laughs at new ideas. Indeed, he distrusts his own feelings and, at times, refuses to their defi- believe the evidence of his own senses because he realizes ciencies and the possibilities of error. The truth seeker welcomes new ideas, especially those with which he is not now in agreement. 5. He Is Aggressively Tolerant. The truth seeker must be ready to admit that other people may know more than he does and that they may be right and that he may be wrong. But his tolerance will not extend so far as accepting other people's ideas unless the evidence at hand supports these ideas. He seeks to discover the elements of agreement and disagreement between himself and others in an effort to increase his knowledge. The truth seeker does not ask others to accept his own point of view. Where the scientific attitude reigns, there is no regard for party, race, creed, or nation. Thus Marconi, an Italian, devised the wireless telegraph which was based on the researches of Hertz, a German, who, in turn, got his inspiration from Maxwell, a Scot. 6. He Does Not Accept Conclusions unless They Are Supported by Adequate Evidence. The truth seeker is definitely skeptical. Skepticism is not cynicism or suspicion, but it does involve the scrutiny of every belief, custom, and conclusion to discover the data, if any, upon which it rests. Anyone who wants to solve problems should first develop skepticism, for unless he is very critical of all of the information which he obtains.
THE SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE 15 he may accept some of it without verification and checking and thus be led to faulty conclusions. The truth seeker does not allow the unsupported claims of nostrumvenders, political spellbinders, and high-pressure salesmanship, or the propaganda of warring labor factions, political parties, or nations to determine his judgments. He withholds his judgment until he has exhausted his resources of evidence. He reaches conclusions, but he does not jump at them. 7. He Is Able to Recognize Fellow Truth Seekers. It is hopeless to attempt to repeat and verify all the scientific work of past ages, and it therefore becomes necessary to depend upon the work of others for most of one's information. But authorities are judged by the evidence they give for their conclusions rather than by their wealth or whiskers. 8. He Is Undaunted in His Pursuit of Truth. It takes a great deal of painstaking effort, patience, and perseverance even to begin to discover the facts necessary to solve a problem adequately. The truth seeker keeps trying even after many failures. Work for him is a pleasure because it leads to one of life's greatest satisfactions, that of solving problems. He who believes that "a person is foolish to work " will never enjoy the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The scientist really enjoys life ; the only drudgeries for him are the tasks that take him away from his pursuit of truth. The day is never long enough, and life is all too short for the man who has the passion for truth. 9. He Does Not Subscribe to the Adage, "What You DonH Know Won't Hurt You." He has learned from experience that there is nothing more terrible than ignorance in action. He knows that knowledge provides the power to prevent and cure disease, to prolong life, and to control his environment. He has learned that it is what he does not know that hurts him, for nearly always "forewarned means forearmed." 10. He Cultivates Accuracy of Observation and Precision of Statement. The truth seeker knows that no detail is too small to be of importance. Many of the great discoveries of Science have resulted from very small variations in measurements. Deliberate dishonesty, distortion of truth, the selection of facts which support a preconceived point of view, inaccurate measurements, and careless statements are obstacles blocking the pathway to truth. The truth seeker welcomes criticism of his work because it helps him to correct his mistakes. 11. He Is Optimistic. The scientist never says that a thing cannot be done but rather says "give me a chance at it." The fact that a thing never has been done before presents a challenge rather than discouragement.