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Author Topic: Scientists appear quite reluctant to question conventional wisdom?  (Read 3206 times)

Offline Joe L. Ogan

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Scientists appear very reluctant to question conventional concepts.  Do they not realize that a good percentage of these concepts are wrong?  I question many of the concepts that I have read.  The Big Bang Theory is one of these.  The Red Shift measurement begs many questions with me.  I thought that Scientists would not be quite so open to accept something that has been proposed to them.  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan


 

Offline PhysBang

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Comment: learn the science instead of abandoning it when you have a question. You are being deceived by people who do not have scientific evidence but want to be praised.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Joe,
Scientists question everything and it's silly to say otherwise. One thing we are likely to question is the idea that some bloke on a website will have come up with anything better than the sum of two or three centuries of careful experiments and thought by a large number of people.

It's true  that there are issues with the big bang; on the other hand it does explain quite a lot of things rather well.
As far as I can tell you haven't really proposed anything better.
 

Offline graham.d

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There are an infinite set of solutions to any problem but there may only be one that is right. With many maths problems the answer can be proved but with physical problems, none can be proved, only disproved. All that can be done is look for a theory that is self consistant, consistant with the rest of physics, and able to make valid predictions. Another general rule that is applied is that it should be the simplest solution. It is usually easy to (say) arbitrarily add another term to an equation (or otherwise modify it) that plays no part in any measurement capable of being made. Of course, if someone had (without justification) suggested to Newton the equations of special relativity, it would have been a very, very lucky guess and would have probably been dismissed as mad. But this is not really the way science works and it never happens like this.

There are other principles that can apply, particularly in cosmology, but that are not always accepted by all. The Copernican principle and Anthropic principle are two examples. Not accepting one or more of these principles opens up huge realms of other possibilities but it does not get us any further in undersanding.

I'm afraid modern physics is not really very open to the non-specialist like it was (maybe) in the days of Galileo. Most of us struggle with our own narrow fields and there are few true polymaths around. There are plenty of disagreements in physics but to get an appreciation of these I think it is necessary to spend a long time studying and understanding the details. What is popularly presented (certainly in cosmology) is very simplified and the most accepted basic concepts. But this is because trying to explain ideas like Riemannian spaces and differential geometry on a TV programme is not a viable task.

Conventional wisdom is more than likely not right but it is probably the best we have. If you wish to overturn ideas then there is quite a large amount of justification rightly required.

 

Offline LeeE

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What is popularly presented (certainly in cosmology) is very simplified and the most accepted basic concepts. But this is because trying to explain ideas like Riemannian spaces and differential geometry on a TV programme is not a viable task.

Agreed that it would not be an easy task, but I think that an even greater problem with the way that science is presented by the popular media is that everything has to be sensationalised and this leads to inappropriate, over dramatised and ultimately misleading descriptions being used.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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"Conventional wisdom" is very solid so if you're going to attack it you're going to have to use something that is also very solid.
 

Offline graham.d

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I 100% agree Lee. If you take away the unnecessary drama and useless visual analogies from a programme like "Horizon", the actual informative content could be expressed in about 10 minutes.
 

Offline latebind

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Here's my 2 cents.

I fully support conventional wisdom, even if it is flawed, here's my reasoning...

Throughout the history of science, there were always things that it could not explain, and when these things were eventually explained it led to more questions to explain.

This is the basic road of science that we are travelling on, getting little peices of the full picture as we go along.

Conventional wisdom is our navigator on this road. Yes it will sometimes get the directions wrong, however there are people everywhere contributing to the betterment of conventional wisdom which will get us on the right path.

Science itself would not have been possible to grow and would not have been able to get so sophisticated if every person just did their own studies and never shared it with the world. Imagine if newton and einstein never shared their thoughts? It is this sharing of information that leads to conventional wisdom, and it is creative scientists who chip away the rough edges to reveal the true story behind science by using conventional wisdom as a start and a guide.
« Last Edit: 07/02/2010 14:49:26 by latebind »
 

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