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The notion that we might uncover the nature of the world through a combination of careful observation and logic goes back to the inception of the scientific project. It was the dream of the Enlightenment and it could even be said that this vision has defined modern western culture. A motivating and liberating force, it has given us a sense of progress, a sense that unlike previous cultures and other societies we are on the road to truth. Nevertheless, it is profoundly mistaken.

In the closing pages of A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking took a sideswipe at contemporary…

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