Cosmic Variance – Scientists Aren’t Always Complete Idiots

Nobody is harder on sci­en­tific the­o­ries than sci­en­tists are. That’s what we do. You don’t become a suc­cess­ful sci­en­tist by lick­ing the metaphor­i­cal boots of Ein­stein or Dar­win or New­ton; you hit the jack­pot by push­ing them off their pedestals. Every one of us would love to dis­cover that all of our best the­o­ries are wrong, either by doing an aston­ish­ing exper­i­ment or com­ing up with an unex­pect­edly clever the­ory. The rea­son why we have the right to put some degree of con­fi­dence in well-established mod­els is that such a model must have sur­vived decades of impo­lite prod­ding and skep­ti­cal cri­tiques by hun­dreds of experts.

via Cos­mic Vari­ance – Sci­en­tists Aren’t Always Com­plete Idiots. Some­thing that I notice that non-scientists seem to make as an assump­tion about sci­en­tists is that it’s this sta­tic idea, ideas are rarely chal­lenged and the big shots are always right and never assumed to be wrong. In a con­ver­sa­tion with a friend, who’s get­ting her Master’s in Math­e­mat­ics, one of the pro­fes­sors at the uni­ver­sity is work­ing on dis­prov­ing her doc­toral the­sis. This is one of the great­est things about sci­ence it never assumes itself to be 100% accu­rate or cor­rect. How­ever that doesn’t mean that there isn’t con­sen­sus on issues that given the cur­rent knowl­edge the cur­rent the­ory is cor­rect and valid sim­ply because it’s always open to be attacked or disproven.

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