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Thread: Is Failure a Succes

  1. #1 Is Failure a Succes 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Taking the lead from UA in the chat room, who’s bemoaning the fact that he’s failed to get a paper published. Got me thinking of science experiments that failed yet changed the course of human history. Like looking for the luminiferous aether and not finding it, thus spawning a series of events leading to Einstein’s theories.

    Perhaps it’s how one looks at failure that determines success. So if you didn’t get the results you looked for is there something positive to be gained by it? The old adage of ‘if you don’t succeed then try, try again’ doesn’t mean repeat but begin again with a new approach based on what you’ve learned, IMHO.

    Was fishing the other day with the local angling guru. We weren’t catching much and he says to me that we’re eliminating water. Means we know where the fish aren’t so let’s try somewhere else. Eventually we find them in warmer water. (68°F as opposed to 64°F). I think we experienced success through experimental failure.

    Isn’t this somewhat like The Duck’s philosophy? Point out the errors so the author can either improve or discard. After all isn’t it a benefit for all of us to know when something’s wrong, author included?

    *In the title I’ve failed to include the last s in success and the question mark. Please benefit us all by correcting my mistake. Thanks


    Last edited by zinjanthropos; July 3rd, 2019 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Failure
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  3. #2  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Got me thinking of science experiments that failed yet changed the course of human history.
    I was taught that experiments never fail.
    An experiment is performed to see what happens.
    Getting a result that is different from what is expected or predicted is called, on occasion, a "failed experiment" but that's just misusing the language.
    Taking the lead from UA in the chat room, who’s bemoaning the fact that he’s failed to get a paper published.
    Perhaps it’s how one looks at failure that determines success.
    Quite.
    It depends on how he views it. And, to an extent, on what feedback he got. A simple rejection isn't helpful. A rejection with an explanation of why it was rejected is an opportunity to incorporate new knowledge in the next presentation.
    (That opportunity may or may not be taken advantage of...)
    So if you didn’t get the results you looked for is there something positive to be gained by it? The old adage of ‘if you don’t succeed then try, try again’ doesn’t mean repeat but begin again with a new approach based on what you’ve learned, IMHO.
    Exactly. Why did I get a different result than I expected?How could I improve the experiment or the instruments or even the hypothesis being tested.
    Was fishing the other day with the local angling guru. We weren’t catching much and he says to me that we’re eliminating water. Means we know where the fish aren’t so let’s try somewhere else. Eventually we find them in warmer water. (68°F as opposed to 64°F). I think we experienced success through experimental failure.
    Wasn't it Edison, on being accused of failure, that said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work"? At the very least that cuts down on possible avenues of inquiry.
    Isn’t this somewhat like The Duck’s philosophy? Point out the errors so the author can either improve or discard. After all isn’t it a benefit for all of us to know when something’s wrong, author included?
    I'd say so. Many don't. (Some people don't like being corrected at all).


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  4. #3  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Got me thinking of science experiments that failed yet changed the course of human history.
    I was taught that experiments never fail.
    An experiment is performed to see what happens.
    Getting a result that is different from what is expected or predicted is called, on occasion, a "failed experiment" but that's just misusing the language.
    Taking the lead from UA in the chat room, who’s bemoaning the fact that he’s failed to get a paper published.
    Perhaps it’s how one looks at failure that determines success.
    Quite.
    It depends on how he views it. And, to an extent, on what feedback he got. A simple rejection isn't helpful. A rejection with an explanation of why it was rejected is an opportunity to incorporate new knowledge in the next presentation.
    (That opportunity may or may not be taken advantage of...)
    So if you didn’t get the results you looked for is there something positive to be gained by it? The old adage of ‘if you don’t succeed then try, try again’ doesn’t mean repeat but begin again with a new approach based on what you’ve learned, IMHO.
    Exactly. Why did I get a different result than I expected?How could I improve the experiment or the instruments or even the hypothesis being tested.
    Was fishing the other day with the local angling guru. We weren’t catching much and he says to me that we’re eliminating water. Means we know where the fish aren’t so let’s try somewhere else. Eventually we find them in warmer water. (68°F as opposed to 64°F). I think we experienced success through experimental failure.
    Wasn't it Edison, on being accused of failure, that said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work"? At the very least that cuts down on possible avenues of inquiry.
    Isn’t this somewhat like The Duck’s philosophy? Point out the errors so the author can either improve or discard. After all isn’t it a benefit for all of us to know when something’s wrong, author included?
    I'd say so. Many don't. (Some people don't like being corrected at all).
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Dywyd....I think UA mentioned the publisher cited errors but I stand to be corrected.

    Can the reverse happen though, success turning into a failure? Does temporary success mean anything?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Dywyd....I think UA mentioned the publisher cited errors but I stand to be corrected.

    Can the reverse happen though, success turning into a failure? Does temporary success mean anything?
    False positives?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Dywyd....I think UA mentioned the publisher cited errors but I stand to be corrected.

    Can the reverse happen though, success turning into a failure? Does temporary success mean anything?
    False positives?
    Is that what they’re called? I guess if it works positively according to the existing knowledge of the time then perhaps success is dependent upon the scientific knowledge of the era. Internal combustion engines replacing the horse seemed beneficial at one time.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Dywyd....I think UA mentioned the publisher cited errors but I stand to be corrected.

    Can the reverse happen though, success turning into a failure? Does temporary success mean anything?
    False positives?
    Is that what they’re called? I guess if it works positively according to the existing knowledge of the time then perhaps success is dependent upon the scientific knowledge of the era. Internal combustion engines replacing the horse seemed beneficial at one time.
    Not what I meant ,I just wondered if false positives in medecine would be an example of what you were asking about -or when the "all clear" is given for an air raid warning and you go outside to be run down by a cyclist or some such.

    We also have the "slver lining" idea but it would be its negative (a gloomy lining)

    or "ugly downside"?

    https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/th...er_lining.html
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  9. #8  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Can the reverse happen though, success turning into a failure?
    I can't remember the experiment and I can't find the quote but I have a fairly strong memory of some scientists being deeply disappointed over the "success" of an experiment that went exactly according to expectations. The reason for their upset was that, since everything went as expected, they learned nothing new.

    There's also this: Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success. Essentially, if everything works out the way you expected you tend to assume that the credit is all yours and that there's no need to change anything for the future.
    On t'other hand we've got this: We Learn More from Success than Failure.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Dywyddyr;624446]
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Can the reverse happen though, success turning into a failure?
    . I can't remember the experiment and I can't find the quote but I have a fairly strong memory of some scientists being deeply disappointed over the "success" of an experiment that went exactly according to expectations. The reason for their upset was that, since everything went as expected, they learned nothing new.

    There's also this: Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success. Essentially, if everything works out the way you expected you tend to assume that the credit is all yours and that there's no need to change anything for the future.
    On t'other hand we've got this: We Learn More from Success than Failure.
    First link in a roundabout way is actually learning from failure. Sure people sometimes make the mistake of not analyzing why they have had success but if it spawns an article that points this out then are we not learning from it? idk

    The 2nd link in which monkeys learned from success made me wonder about evolution and how many second chances there are in nature for the majority of critters on Earth. A mistake there means it’s possible you end up on someone’s dinner plate. Maybe for us as top predator, we have the luxury of failing and having less chance of dying because of it.

    Not saying evolution actually learns from failure or success. I think we kind of have the advantage with our intelligence and are less likely to pay ultimate price for failure. As a species do we have more room for error and if so does that enable us to learn from our mistakes?
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; July 5th, 2019 at 07:17 AM.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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