Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Settled Science

Several hundred years ago, we thought that the Earth was flat. Turns out, the Earth is round. We also thought that the Earth was the center of the universe and all the stars rotated around us. Then came Gallileo and peed in the Pope's wheaties. The science wasn't nearly as settled as we thought.

When I was in high school, I was taught that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Einstein said so. The science was settled. Then, along comes CERN last week and says it has measured particles that move faster than the speed of light. Hmmm. Isn't that interesting? It seems that science is never settled, after all. As we learn, we learn new things. As we learn new things, the old things are either supported or repudiated. It's science, not religion.

When the weather weeneis tell you that the science is settled, remember Einstein, CERN, Gallileo and all the other real scientists.


Flintlock Tom said...

As I read about this "discovery" I see that the scientists who first made this discovery did not believe it themselves. So they did the exact right thing: they repeated the experiment, triple-checked their findings and asked other scientists to try to confirm their findings.
That is how Science is supposed to work.
In the AlGore school of "science" we decide what we want to prove, make up some numbers which prove it, then demean anyone who disagrees.

Cybrludite said...

Had a "debate" on Facebook with a friend who couldn't get her head around the fact that no matter how efficient you make the solar panels, there's only so much sunlight for them to soak up, and that this was thus a hard limit on the amount of energy you can ever get from them.