Nothing But the Truth

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."  Arthur Schopenhauer



"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
Max Planck

I heard these two quotes today. I'm not sure that either of them describe the scientific community as it stands in the present day, but it's an interesting commentary on how the past and the present collide. Once the earth was flat and scientists were heretics who postulated otherwise. Then there was the  geocentric model of the universe with the sun and stars revolving around the earth. Proposing otherwise, directly went against the establishment and more importantly, religion, and that was what made it so hard for those brave scientists... but they did it.

Now though, there is a healthy process of discovery in the scientific community.  New ideas may be viewed with healthy skepticism, but only if the data doesn't support it. Prove it well enough and move on to new and bigger things.

Except... the uneducated and opinionated public is now the problem.   They're the ones who seem to fight the idea of scientific enquiry, research, education and endeavour.  It's fine to reap the rewards in medicine, military might, technology, and entertainment....  but they don't want the most basic scientific theories (that are the underpinings of so many of these developments they take for granted) to be taught to their children or given any credence/support in their society. It's like we are going back to the dark ages.  Sometimes I wish we had one giant isolated island that they could all be put on, to fend for themselves and live as they please - with no benefits from science or 'elite' (did you know educated is now a dirty word?) ideas to sully their otherwise perfect lives. What a science experiment that would be.  If nothing else, it would make a bloody good movie!

2 comments:

  Anonymous

4/7/10, 11:43 AM

Unfortunately mate, if there was going to be any island constructed to ship off a minority, we'd probably be on it. The world is still caught up in animism and values unknown and unknowable forces over the real improvement of conditions generated by members of our own species.

  jude

4/7/10, 11:49 AM

True.... but it's a lovely idea isn't it. We can but dream....

 


The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism