Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why scientists *cannot* "Revise what they know" in the face of every piece of adverse evidence



As Paul Feyerabend noted, all scientific theories are born falsified: at the very moment of their creation, there exist data that "falsifies" the theory. (See, for instance, Special Relativity and the Michelson-Morley experiment, or Copernican astronomy and the absence of visible stellar parallax.) But if the theory seems to solve enough other problems, and especially if it seems rationally satisfying, explaining a range of phenomena in an elegant manner, scientists will (correctly) ignore the "falsifying" data and plunge ahead using the theory, hoping that one day the recalcitrant data can be made to behave.

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