Carl Sagan wrote that at the heart of science was an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes: an openness to new ideas (creative thinking) and skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new (skeptical thinking) . In a sense, these two attitudes can be said to be only different sides of the single mental behavior of doubting. Skeptical thinking is easily understood to have a relation to doubting. Creative thinking is also related to doubting, because, as Sagan noted, the openness of creative mind is to take a possible solution into consideration no matter how it seems to be bizarre or counterintuitive; namely, here is a doubt about regarding a bizarre thing simply as bizarre.
Presently the government of a certain country is irrationally eager to make a law that might suppress the freedom to doubt at the places of education. Feynman would cynically laugh at this .
- For the publication of the lecture, see footnote 1 of the 19-Jul-1999 story of this column.
- The lecture was delivered in 1963, i.e., well before the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
- Carl Sagan, "The Demon Haunted World" (Random House, New York, 1996).
- Note added later: "The bill to legally recognize the Hinomaru as the national flag and Kimigayo as the national anthem gained final Diet approval on Aug. 9, as the [Japanese] government stepped up moves to end a series of post-war controversies. The legalization was prompted by the suicide of a Hiroshima high school principal in February." (From Asahi Weekly, Aug. 15, 1999) — The legalization is quite an opposite movement against what the principal appealed by his suicide. —