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Post Info TOPIC: Scientific Discovery and Ridicule

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Scientific Discovery and Ridicule

Recently I have completed a search on how throughout the ages our greatest scientists faced much scorn and ridicule concerning their discoveries and
inventions.   I was suprised to find out that the Wright Brothers not only were mocked in the process of inventing the airplane but were mocked for  years after their historic 1903 flight and condemned by even their own home town newspaper as being a bunch of liers and phonies.

In 1920 Goddard was mocked by the New York times for suggesting that a rocket could go to the Moon because it was a scientific fact that rockets could not propel themselves in a vacuum.  Yet even today most Americans think that astronauts like Buzz Aldrin are phonies and the Moon Landings were faked.

Even Einstein himself once thought that atomic energy would never be practical probably because he thought there would be no way to control an atomic explosion and was proven wrong even though he came up with the formula that calculated the immense power of matter to energy conversion.  And even today hordes of people scorn the idea of atomic power saying that atomic power is the deadliest threat to mankind.  What these scoffers fail to realize is that without the atomic energy of the Sun life on this planet would have died out ages ago as soon as a wood   burning sun ran out of fuel.  Environmentalist scoffers love to say split wood not atoms because they fail to realize that if everyone use a wood burning stove we would all gag.



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The Scientific method requires ideas to be filtered through a Darwinian process of peer review--in this way, weak ideas (wrong) are filtered out, in favor of correct or useful ideas that eventually survive: somewhere in between the truth is usually revealed. However, it is a human fault that sometimes the selection process is itself approached with unmitigated glee (O.K., I am being polite here.)

Paraphrasing something that Richard Feynman once said: "...beautiful theories are often brutally murdered by facts..." There is truth in this.

But yes, there have been countless cases in human history where ideas that threatened the status quo and caused all manner of uproar and social upset, only to be found to be correct, often after the expiration of the proposer.

Even today, there are people who are labelled cranks even though their theories seem to accurately integrate gavity within the fold of the other three forces, yet don't do it using supersting theory and quantum physics...

It is the way of the things I suppose. As my Dad told me once "Nature doesn't have to be pretty. It only has to work."

And there is truth in that.

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