Tuesday 9th August 2022
    TradeBriefs Editorial

    From the Editor's Desk

    Why disagreement is vital to advancing human understanding

    Disagreements can be unpleasant, even offensive, but they are vital to human reason. Without them we remain in the dark

    In the town of Dayton, Ohio, at the end of the 19th century, locals were used to the sound of quarrels spilling out from the room above the bicycle store on West Third Street. The brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the shop in 1892, shortly before they became obsessed with the problem of manned flight. Downstairs, they fixed and sold bicycles. Upstairs, they argued about flying machines.

    Charles Taylor, who worked on the shop floor of the Wright Cycle Company, described the room above as ‘frightened with argument’. He recalled: 'The boys were working out a lot of theory in those days, and occasionally they would get into terrific arguments. They'd shout at each other something terrible. I don't think they really got mad, but they sure got awfully hot.'

    We're so familiar with the fact that the Wright brothers invented the aeroplane that the miraculous nature of their achievement goes unheralded. Wilbur and Orville were not scientists or qualified engineers. They didn't attend university and they weren't attached to any corporation. In fact, before their breakthrough, they'd accomplished little of note. So, just how did they come to solve one of the greatest engineering puzzles in history? Their success owes a lot to their talent for productive argument.

    Continued here


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