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I think William Gibson's idea that "the future is already here, it just isn't evenly distributed yet" applies. The current paradigms and the future ones co-exist. The orthodox and the cautious support the former and the free-thinkers and crackpots support the latter. Pejorative terms like orthodoxy and crackpot are part of the problem, ideas should not be accepted or rejected either on the basis that "everyone" believes them, or that "noone" believes them. But any field of science needs to be able to distinguish between ideas which go beyond current assumptions and ideas which go beyond current evidence. Sometimes those are the same thing and sometimes they aren't. In Europe, a few centuries ago, there were folk beliefs that witches could fly. There was also a guy named Da Vinci who drew pictures of flying machines. Would rejecting the idea that humans would ever be able to fly have been a good thing? Nope. Would giving more weight to Da Vinci's approach to it than to the believers in witchcraft have been a good thing, probably so. OTOH there are other aspects of medieval witchcraft which foreshadowed ideas (e.g. in psychology) that were just as much "ahead of their time" as Da Vinci's ideas.

Have you seen the movie "What the #$*! Do We Know!?". A thoroughly confused look at the relation of paradigms to evidence IM(NS)HO but one that highlights that a romantic notion that new ideas are automatically good ideas is not any better than the notion that new ideas are automatically wrong.

Your advice about self-introspection re things that are "obviously" wrong is a good one, I wish I could follow it more often.


In reply to Re: What do you know, and how do you know that you know it? by jZed
in thread What do you know, and how do you know that you know it? by tilly

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