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private_messaging comments on Being Half-Rational About Pascal's Wager is Even Worse - Less Wrong

19 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 April 2013 05:20AM

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Comment author: private_messaging 25 April 2013 05:48:24PM *  4 points [-]

Radioactivity was discovered via "fluorescence is responsible for x-rays" idea that did not pan out...

There's a big number of fusion related attempts that did not pan out at all, there's fission of lithium which can't be used for a chain reaction and is only used for making tritium. There's hafnium triggering which might or might not pan out (and all the other isomers), and so on.

For the most part chasing or not chasing "wouldn't it be neat if" scenarios doesn't have much of effect on science, it seems - Fermi would still inevitably have discovered secondary neutrons even if he wasn't pursuing chain reaction (provided someone else didn't do that before him).