No, not DiCaprio! Leonardo da Vinci, stupid!

Okay jokes aside, I was reading through a very nice history of ideas book called The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin and came across these two Leonardo quotes.

The first quote relates to the fact that in Leonardo’s day competing ideas about illness, treatment and healing were linked with varying degrees of social power. From today’s standpoint, they were all pretty bad. But it seems some were worse than others.

The second quote is related but points to the importance of what we now call “experimenter bias.”

Despite what some eggheads will tell you, we simply cannot avoid experimenter bias. Even if we report results fairly – without any fudging or fraud – we still set up an experiment with loaded assumptions that may limit the usefulness and, more certainly, comprehensiveness of the results.