The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #144266   Message #3335608
Posted By: Will Fly
09-Apr-12 - 05:10 AM
Thread Name: When does living history end?
Subject: RE: When does living history end?
scientists, who have institutional inertia towards the conclusions of previous scientists and heretical banishment for anyone who differs even slightly from their conclusions

Evidence please. Any scientist worth a damn knows that scientific knowledge is a long, slow road from no-knowledge to some-knowledge, fraught with false turnings and dead ends. 'Institutional inertia' and 'heretical banishment' are, IMO, the wrong words to describe the arguments, differences of opinion and honest disputes surrounding research and discovery. Many scientists - including Stephen Hawking - have admitted that theories they had previously held had been wrong. Fred Hoyle was a particularly disputatious chap when discussing the 'Big Bang' theory and argued vociferously in support of his views.

Of course there are mistakes and wrong conclusions in science, as there are in all disciplines, but if you really mistrust science and scientists, don't ever get treated by a doctor, don't ever drive a car, don't ever live in a house, don't ever go on public transport or in lifts, don't ever use electricity or gas or watch TV or make a telephone call - all 'science' in its different aspects.

And you can also mistrust historians - but how will you learn anything of our past history without reading something about it? And where will you read it if historians of some sort or another don't write about it? All you can do to combat bias or individual opinion is to read widely and compare and contrast historians' views.

A nihilistic approach to knowledge is all very well, but it doesn't get you very far.