Take nobody’s word for it – evidence and authority in a world of propaganda

‘Nullius in verba’ is a fine ideal, but science is a little bit more complicated than that, as is the world in general

Nullius in verba’ – roughly, ‘Take nobody’s word for it’ – is the motto of one of the world’s oldest scientific societies, the Royal Society. It neatly expresses the ideal that the credibility of information derives from evidence, observational or experimental, and not from the innate authority of the source. An important principle, for a Society with a royal patron, in a country which was still in the process evolving away from absolute monarchy.

Read more at the Guardian.

About Jon Butterworth

UCL Physics prof, works on LHC, writes (books, Guardian Science and elsewhere). Citizen of England, UK, Europe & Nowhere, apparently.
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