Saturday, October 3, 2009

Actual scientific uncertainty

...as opposed to the post modern notion that science (and math) is fraught with uncertainty:

Michael Brooks' 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time

Just finished reading this fascinating, wonderfully researched book.

Yes, there are scientific mysteries--among them, some true bafflers. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a scientific explanation out there somewhere.

Another source of scientific uncertainty: fringe positions have sometimes proved correct. Much as we non-scientists would like to defer to the expert majority, this majority doesn't always get it right. As in all fields, there are egos, fads, and bandwagon effects.

But what's truly special about science as a discipline is that, eventually, errors are revealed and something closer to the truth emerges. Wouldn't it be nice if all human endeavors were like this?

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