Weekly Roundup 69

An important mistake that members of the public seem to make is thinking that what the majority of scientists think, is the truth. An example often given is that most scholars thought the Earth was flat and they were wrong. Despite the fact that no culture past the ancient Greeks has actually thought the Earth was anything other than round (the “fact” that people thought the Earth was flat is itself a myth), the point still remains. What is considered truth today can in fact be proven wrong tomorrow. I think the misconception stems from a mix up between science and philosophy. Most people would probably say that science is what we know and philosophy is what we believe but actually I see it as more sensible to look on these subjects the other way round. In science we a take a hypothesis, a belief (whether we believe it or not), and test to see if it’s right. If evidence supports the hypothesis we hold that idea until solid evidence comes along to disprove it. Philosophy is about logic and reason, the inherent concepts and what we can know to be true based on assumed lemmas. Scientific thought is something that does keep on changing and some of the greatest mistakes in scientific history have been assuming that some previous theories are just too big to question.

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