‘Think it possible you may be mistaken’: Four impertinent questions for 2019

‘Think it possible you may be mistaken’: Four impertinent questions for 2019
The Beijing skyline: will China’s trade war with the US signal the onset of another crash? PIc: Getty

It is important that we ask the right questions. It is vitally important that we understand the degree of uncertainty of any answer

Jacob Bronowski was the Brian Cox of the 1970s. Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man, filmed in 1973, is still a classic in science communication. You can find some of the major parts of The Ascent of Man on YouTube. Check them out. In one clip, Bronowski, a Jew who lost large parts of his family to the concentration camps of World War II, stands in a pond at Auschwitz. The pond was used to flush the ashes of nearly four million people. Bronowski exhorts us, the viewer, not to acquire a “deliberate deafness to suffering”, and to plumb for anything that can help us know something, although we are fallible. He quotes Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

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