- Feb 2017
Progress can be measured by the accumulation of a solid, verifiable body of knowledge with a very high probability of being correct
"Now, to apply this observation: a botanist, in traversing the fields, lights on a particular plant, which appears to be of a species he is not ac-quainted with. The flower, he observes, is mono-petalous, and the number of flowers it carries is seven. Here are two facts that occur to his ob-servation; let us consider in what way he wiIJ be disposed to argue from them: From the first he does not hesitate to conclude, not only as prob-able, but as certain, that this individual, and all of the same species, invariably produce mono-petalous ftowers. From the second, he by no means concludes, as either certain, or even prob-able, that the flowers which either this plant, or others of the same species, carry at once, will al-ways be seven. This difference, to a superficial inquirer, might seem capricious, since there ap-pears to be one example, and but one in either case, on which the conclusion can be founded. The truth is, that it is not from this example only that he deduces these inferences. Had he never heretofore taken the smallest notice of any plant, ..) he could not have reasoned at all from these re-f marks. The mind recurs instantly from the un-1 known to all the other known species of the same :t' genus, and thence to all the known genera of the same order of tribe; and having experienced in the one instance, a regularity in every species, genus, and tribe, which admits no exception; in the other a variety as boundless as that of season, soil, and culture, it learns hence to mark the dif-1,\ ference." Campbell 917
Conspiracy theorists do the first step of Campbell's botanist, but not the second.