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« Loaded Words | Main | Disillusionment unlimited. »

March 13, 2009


Gordon Pitz

I share your sentiments, but would add a cautionary note.

Science, as most of us know, is not immune to established orthodoxy. Indeed, I suggest that this is not a bad thing. Science is guided by both empirical ("the data rule") and rational criteria. The latter requires that new ideas be logically compatible with established theory.

Sometimes that gives rise to unwarranted attachment to an old idea - resistance for so long to the idea of continents moving is a good example. But on other occasions it protects science from genuinely stupid ideas - I think of "cold fusion" and some of the post-modernist nonsense, for example.

Scientists who would overthrow established orthodoxy face a long hard struggle - and for good reason. Some might make the same claim for religion.

The greatest danger to science comes not from its own established paradigms, but from extra-scientific, usually religious or quasi-religious, proscriptions on permissible ideas.

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