By Robert Milne
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Extra resources for A theory of programming language semantics, part B
Yet in spite of the imperfections of the common intellect, we are fully capable of becoming good statisticians, good logicians, and effective refuters of hypotheses. When we do understand the principles, we apply them where they are apt to do the most good. We focus upon important problems, especially those related to survival and making a living. He who runs a casino will calculate the odds or else go out of business, but the incentives are different for the customer whose sole motive is to have a little fun.
One reason is that some of the truths of science are counterintuitive. Perhaps judgment here is biased by the desire of academic specialists to make "the scientific method" a monopoly of some elite. Be this as it may, there would seem to be some truth in the "common sense ' theory of the scientific method. Our conception of the reasoning of primitive man has been prejudiced by excessive attention to the nonrational sectors of his intellectual economy-to magic, religion, art, and political affairs.
Of course a great deal of inventive and verificational work went on during the illustrative period, and there is no obvious point at which it gave rise to the verificational one. It might be sensible to regard the period after the Second World War as transitional, and date the beginnings of the stage of verification from around the time of the centenary of the publication of The Origin of Species, when a lot of basic assumptions began to be reexamined. The architects and the hod carriers alike built up a rather shaky edifice.