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Originally posted by Jean Paul Zodeaux
reply to post by Astyanax
Not only have I effectively proved the original posters case I did so using your own criteria. You asked first to present a case where theory x was widely accepted by the scientific community but later proved to be wrong. While the hypothesis of HIV=AIDS has not been proven wrong it has not been done so because it is not a theory and I effectively showed this to you and instead of being objective and honest and acknowledging this you reply with language such as this:
Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by DevolutionEvolvd
I don't know when heliocentricism was falsified; in the context of the solar system it remains true, and continues to be accepted as such. It is also generally accepted that the sun is not the centre of the universe. No conflict is entailed. And by the way, the Reformation occurred even earlier than the Victorian era.
As for the lipid hypothesis, the link you posted explains clearly that the hypothesis is accepted on the basis of very good scientific evidence.
The fact that some people still disagree with it proves my point, not yours.
It seems that in today's scientific community ideas are blindly accepted and there is little effort to try and disprove the incumbant theory.
What you have to show is an instance of a scientific theory or widely-accepted datum that was embraced by the community without investigation, discussion or peer review.
Daily Bell: You think the inventors of so-called cold fusion are bad scientists. Can you tell us what makes a bad scientist and a good one?
Taubes: In a commencement address that Richard Feynman gave at Caltech in the 1960s, he said that "the first principle [of science] is that you must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool." So the simplest way to think about it is that good scientists are the ones who are most aware of this fact: how easy it is to be fooled by their data and to fool themselves. They're the ones who are most skeptical about their own work, not just the work of others. They're also aware that the only way not to be fooled is to work relentlessly to try to disprove your own pet theories, not try to confirm them. Bad scientists do one experiment, get some interesting result, decide they've discovered something new, and then spend the rest of their lives trying to somehow prove that they did. Again, science doesn't work that way. You have to put more faith in negative evidence than in positive; you have to put more effort into trying to refute your own beliefs and hypotheses, rather than trying to prove them. If you fail to refute them, then you can begin to take them seriously. And, yes, the inventors of cold fusion were bad scientists.
Daily Bell: Is the Atkins diet misunderstood? Is criticism unwarranted?
Taubes: Yes, I believe it is misunderstood. Fundamentally it's a diet that restricts only carbohydrates, which is a good thing to do because it's the carbohydrates that make us fat. It allows us to eat as much as we want of protein and fat, which is a good thing, because these nutrients don't make us fat and so we can eat until our bodies are satisfied, but not get fat because of it. And, yes, I think the criticism is misconceived and always has been. In effect, the nutritionists and the physicians and the researchers and public health authorities who got us into this situation decided they were going to bet our lives (not necessarily theirs) on the belief that saturated fat caused heart disease and ignore all the hard science on the regulation of adipose tissue metabolism telling us that carbohydrates are the problem. They also had to ignore, and they did, a century of anecdotal evidence that carbohydrates are fattening so that they could tell us to eat less fat and more carbs. I find this unreasonable on the face of it, but it was made worse by the fact that the data implicating saturated fat in heart disease was always bad, as well. Much of the evidence actually exonerated saturated fats, so the researchers did what bad scientists always do, which is rationalize away this negative evidence and only pay attention to the positive. When I was reporting a lengthy story on salt and hypertension for Science back in the late 1990s, one Scottish physician memorably referred to this way of working as "Bing Crosby epidemiology": you accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. It's got a nice rhythm to it, but it's the essence of bad science.
Socrates once said, "All I know is that I know nothing." Centuries later, St. Paul, the great expounder of Christian theology, ethics, and mysticism, said that "any man who says he knows something does not yet know as he ought."
A very wise faculty member and department head of a science program I once spoke with told me that the more we learn as scientists the more we learn how little we know, and that he tells all his PhD students when they graduate to never brag about what they know but to go out into the world bragging about how little they know.
This type of humility is essential to science. Not simply to avoid the arrogance that often comes with knowledge, but because our understanding of the world around us often is, in fact, much more limited than we realize or want to believe.
In quantum mechanics, Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) offered the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg showed that we cannot simultaneously determine an electron's position and momentum. The more we study the position, the less able we are to determine the momentum; the more we study the momentum, the less able we are to determine the position.
The job of the scientist is, of course, to develop models of studying phenomena that produce the least distortion of the real phenomenon. But the scientist also must exercise a healthy dose of humility, and admit that her or his knowledge is but a drop in the ocean of truth.