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Julian Simon Changed His Mind–Can Others Come to View Humans as the Solution, not the Problem?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 15, 2010

“The quality of [truth-seeking] depends on a willingness to respectfully engage in open, honest, and objective debate, to challenge … our own beliefs…. As the philosopher, economist, and Anglican bishop Richard Whately observed: ‘It is one thing to wish to have truth on our side, and another thing to wish sincerely to be on the side of truth’.”

– Charles Koch, The Science of Success (John Wiley & Sons, 2007), p. 115. [Book review here]

A week ago I posted a tribute to Julian Simon (1932–1998) on the anniversary of his death. The post was picked up elsewhere in the blogosphere, and I received a number of emails from academics who remarked about how much they appreciated Simon’s personal kindness and scholarly qualities. Steve Horwitz wrote at Coordination Problem:

[Simon] was a model of what a scholar can and should be:  well-read, totally on top of the relevant data, fearless about taking on sacred cows, unafraid to be in your face but always with a smile on his face.