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Posted by Duane Eddy on November 28, 2002 00:25:45 UTC

You said ...

“The system (science) is designed to be both accepting and resistant to change. When a new theory comes along (like relativity), it is put up to the most stringent tests and is usually resisted very strongly. This is not a bad thing (or a mistake), however. This is how the system works. If scientists threw up their hands in defeat every time a new idea came out, we wouldn't be progressing anywhere. The same is true of every major discovery in this and previous centuries. Quantum mechanics met extremely stiff resistance and had to be put to many tests before people believed it. The same is true of the expansion of the universe, quantum electrodynamics, the solar neutrino problem, and many others.”

I was curious about how an idea would get a equal debate.
In court there is a prosecuting and a defense attorneys which are ideally evenly matched.
Each is to attempt to prove their designated position and rarely is the individual on trial left to defend themselves, because they are to emotionally attached to the outcome to be assured of rational thought.
But in this case an idea is on trial and is being defended by an individual which has an emotional stake in the outcome.
So how does the idea get a balanced trial?
Does the entire scientific community choose sides and the last man standing wins?
Is equal funding provided in a head to head competition?
Is it a guy ( and his wife ) with a note pad put against the entire scientific community and the hubble space telescope?

You said ...

When scientists DON'T resist a major new theory, that is when you should be worried. Some theories are still being tested, like string theory and the dark matter hypothesis. If these turn out to be true, the fact that people didn't accept them right away will not be the result of a "psychological problem". It is the nature of science. Just because a scientist does something unethical or is just wrong about something, that doesn't mean that the community's attitudes need to be changed. Perhaps certain individuals need to change their attitude, but you wouldn't be in a position to know which ones. The system has been maximized for efficiency over many centuries, and you are sitting at your computer claiming that you know a better way to do it. Pardon my skepticism.

When you say its been maximized does that mean it has been modified over time to its present state? How has it changed?

You said...

So tell me this, mister Eddy, what is it that makes you think you're in a position to determine what "attitude" is appropriate for the scientific community. Do you have a strong opinion about everything that you don't understand? You may not be doing any damage here, but when some moron goes up in front of Congress and says these things, science loses funding. When a creationist uses these arguments to get Bible stories taught in schools, it hurts science. The same is true in politics, medicine, law, and almost any other field. When people start getting opinionated about things they don't understand, damage is done. Your attitude of being condescending to people who disagree with you is extremely irritating. The fact that you are assuming that you're right is all that much more obnoxious given the fact that you know very little about the topic at hand. You are NOT qualified to make some of the judgements you are making. Talk about something you know.

My motives are as pure as the pastors daughters on Sunday morning.
I made no judgements.
I have an uncontrollable curiosity, especially about topics I don’t know a lot about.
Unfortunately I am afraid my malady is incurable.

I give my word not to divulge any of this to congress, although it is very flattering to be attributed the ability to control scientific funding.
As to the Bible stories, it may not be bad to pass on a few ideas like “thou shalt not murder” with the keys to the atomic weapons arsenal.

As always I have enjoyed your comments.

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