Heisenberg starts from the particle theory of the electron; Schrödinger from the wave theory; and then, via quantum theory, they each arrive at the uncertainty principle. Max Born, using statistics, showed that each was reducible to the other; i.e. reducible to the common irreducibility. It was XXth-century physics come into its own, a century ago, where our instruments permanently obscure the result they would observe, and our arithmetic confirms that we cannot know — and something like this is the treat that awaits us in all scientific disciplines.

Nevertheless, we can be happy. Scientific discoveries have, if anything, expanded, in company with an expanding universe. The discovery, a mere generation ago, of “cosmic acceleration,” confirmed the higher uncertainty. Not only does the universe contain functions that we cannot predict. It contains more of them than we could ever have predicted. We are, in the words of a refugee Polish physicist, trying to explain the eccentric details to me, “just bugger’d.” (This was in my distant past.)

I can’t even remember his name, except that it was “Kaiser.” He had escaped Communism (with a capital-C) from moral, as opposed to scientific, certainty. The tyrants who then managed his country claimed to be the embodiment of settled science, rather as our public health administrators now claim to know what they cannot know, at the meeting place of arrogance and stupidity. We might call this their “intersectional” principle.