I am writing this post in response to a part of me that recognizes that my poetic license with scientific knowledge will bother some. At the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (I didn’t attend school there, I spoke to a couple people one day on a vague notion that I might want to) I was told that biology needs specialists, there is no room for generalists. I resented that for a while, but I know what the speaker meant. He studied the structure of (certain kinds of!) proteins. I still believe in generalism, but I understand the maxim of cybernetics, “study the general through the specific”. One can be a generalist on their own time, at night, and during the day keep between the details, like peaks showing through the treetops.
I keep my eyes on the details during the day, and even at night too. But I have a creative side that likes to field crazy ideas and be inspired by them. I like for my crazy ideas to accumulate, distill, erode inaccuracy. A line of inquiry is just that, a line, a path of inquiry. The best way to make a 1000 mile journey is one step at a time. I think the ability to generate hypotheses with the knowledge available is an important kind of intelligence. Just as is the ability to make very precise calculations about the state of some material system, or something.
Just as is the ability to perceive musical distinctions. And visual genius. And so on.