Sciences - Other

Science is self Correcting – No

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"Science is self Correcting - No"
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Society today misunderstands what science really is. It is not magic. It is not a religion. It's a rational process of determining reality, nothing more and nothing less. By its very nature, the body of increasing scientific knowledge will, over the course of time, sometimes trump a previous assertion.

Example: Egyptian "scientists" of the ancient past thought internal organs such as the liver and intestines were more crucial to life function than the brain. Four "Canopic Jars" were used to store the "important" removed body parts for preservation. So, they possessed some knowledge of the inner workings of the body but were crude, superstitious, and inaccurate by today's standards. A great deal of time and treasure was invested in this complete waste of effort, and on top of that they cast away the brain as rubbish. We can only conclude they did not understand its role in human biology.

Example: A few centuries ago, most Christian people believed that the Earth was less than 10,000 years old. This was drawn from constructing a simple Bible time-line of births and deaths. In the 21st Century, this viewpoint is held by only a minority of believers. Does this mean that the Bible is wrong? The evidence is overwhelming that the Earth is very old; it's far more likely the lineage of the Old Testament was given for purposes of heritage and not of science. Since the Bible is not a textbook of either Earth science or biology, it does not hold up to scientific standards of truth; it is a spiritual document.

Example: People were "bled" to improve their health when ill, and many of them died. Our first President was likely killed by this barbaric practice, but it was quite acceptable until the mid 19th Century. Were these people evil? No; many were fine doctors but they were hamstrung by a lack of scientific knowledge just as the Egyptians were. Endorsement of bleeding wasn't the result of science, but rather a lack of proper clinical research.

Given these goofs, and many more through history, is science doomed to be obsolete? Hardly; the very nature of our shifting horizons and challenges guarantee that given science "findings" will occasionally be revised and sometimes completely debunked.

But one must also point to continuing triumphs as seen during the past century, in such wide ranging fields as space travel, medicine, and information technology.

The true plus to scientific thinking is you don't have to wear a lab coat or be a rocket physics expert. Anybody can apply this thinking to their life and benefit. It has been shown to be far superior to superstition, emotionalism, or mysticism through time.

The fact it's sometimes found to be wrong only proves internal consistency with the principle of science itself. History shows it to be self correcting, not self-defeating.

More about this author: Cameron Foster

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