Deep and shallow truths

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:0

A deep truth, said physicist Niels Bohr, is just as true as its opposite. In contradistinction, the opposite of a trivial truth is false. Christopher Martyn tells us this on p 874, describing how Bohr would quote his grandfather to illustrate his theme. The teacher Peter George Bohr explained to his class that the biblical quotation “man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God” meant that “you must be guided by ancient wisdom.” But, said a student, the text actually reads: “No man, …

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