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    • Okay that helped clear up your arguments a bit more. What is taught in the sociology of science or the history of science supports the idea that there is a resistance to changing the paradigm of the day among scientists. It's my feeling that this is not in and of itself a bad thing. What these scientists are saying often goes against a very very large amount of scientific study and findings. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In other words if you want to overcome the main theory of the day then you better have all of your ducks in a row and a heck of a lot of evidence to back your claim. (and that was one of the problems with Wegener's claim - he didn't have a mechanism to support his idea that the continents drifted. Yes I know he was also an outsider...) We can't have any old researcher who has a counter view simply overriding the mainstream because they are the minority and their ideas sound cool. We also have a lot of cranks out there who have seemingly 'radical' scientific theories who are not really scientists but scam artists who work on the fringes of science merely to take advantage of the ignorant. It can be hard to distinguish between a crank and a revolutionary thinker but it's usually the evidence they present (or fail to have) that decides. Even a bit of evidence to support their view is not enough, nor should it be. Yes I'm well aware of the reality that it sometimes requires the death of a big mainstream scientist or generation of scientists to allow the growth of a new paradigm but again that's not the death nell for science but rather a part of the human mind and it's inherent biases. Finally I'll say that most of science and technology makes progress as small incrimental steps forward and not nearly as many revolutionary leaps. The examples such as that of Wegener are fairly minimal and I would know because I spent a few years studying just that. (I did my masters thesis on a very closely related topic.) It could be possible that what is understood or accepted in academia (by me) is different from the prevailing lay person's view.

    • As scientific fields of research mature, it is often the case that theories that replace the established mainstream do not necessarily totally displace the theory that came before it. Consider Einstein's work. It didn't stop Newtonian physics from being useful. Likewise a future replacement for Einstein's findings won't make his theories useless.

    • Part of the problem is that there is a cultivated representation of "the scientist" in modern media which explicitly defines them out of behaving "like human beings." They are a cut above, unconcerned with such petty concerns as our day-to-day lives, their own existence is purely an abstraction and absorb wholly with their field of study.

      Or, more shortly, absolute crap.

      Anyone who has ever actually associated with scientists, doctors, or other members of what we are presented as the intellectual elite, knows that they are just as human with vulnerability to human foible and failure as anyone else.

      That's a problem if you imagine the world can and should and possibly is run by an elite technocracy who are manifestly superior to everyone else at every turn.

      Science, as a philosophy and as a process, is intended to be driven by human beings – flawed, individual human beings who can fail in a multitude of ways. The process is supposed to account for that by replication, by the demand for documentation, by an unflinching view of recognizing that error bars exist, and by making careful claims based only on the available evidence.

      Of course, it is enacted and viewed by mere human beings, which represents not a failure with the process but a failure in existence.

    • Thanks, lextenebris, and welcome to Cake. 😁

      I was once listening to NPR as they interviewed some apparently famous scientist, I wasn't sure who because I tuned in part way, and Terry Gross asked what he thought the greatest advance in science was. He answered, "the double-blind test." It speaks to the biases we all have, even trained scientists.

      I've never been able to find that quote. 😢