Cargo Cult Science

by Polle on June 2, 2006

‘I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas–he’s the controller–and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.’Richard Feynman

Don’t follow leaders, niet kopiëren maar innoveren of, zoals Godin het zelf stelt ‘In fact, given that we have no idea why some ideas spread and others don’t, the odds are that copying the headphones and the runways isn’t going to help you much at all.‘.

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