Friday, October 18, 1963: 'Chaos in the Brickyard'

In 1963, Bernard K. Forscher of the Mayo Clinic complained in a now famous letter printed in the prestigious journal Science that scientists were generating too many facts. Titled "Chaos in the Brickyard," the letter warned that the new generation of scientists was too busy churning out bricks -- facts -- without regard to how they go together. Brickmaking, Forscher feared, had become an end in itself. "And so it happened that the land became flooded with bricks. ... It became difficult to find the proper bricks for a task because one had to hunt among so many. ... It became difficult to complete a useful edifice because, as soon as the foundations were discernible, they were buried under an avalanche of random bricks."
     -- "To Know, but Not Understand" (David Weinberger, The Atlantic magazine, January 2012)
* Text of "Chaos in the Brickyard": @
* "Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room" (Weinberger, 2011): @
* "Building a Metaphor: Another Brick in the Wall" (Douglas G. Altman, British Medical Journal, December 2012): @
* "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" (Thomas S. Kuhn, 1962): @
* " 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' at Fifty" (Matthew C. Rees, The New Atlantis, 2012): @ 

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