A naive view of science…

November 9, 2010

“A naive view of science is that scientists base their beliefs on the best available data at any given time. Instead, what really happens, as described by Thomas Kuhn in his classic book ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’, is that people form paradigms. A paradigm is a collection of ideas and theories about a given topic. Basically, its somebody’s view of how the world works. Paradigms have remarkable staying power because they can persist long after they have been disproved. Certainly paradigms can change – something Kuhn calls a paradigm shift – but it often takes an abundance of countering evidence, and even that may not be enough. There are countless examples of scientific paradigms that have overstayed their welcome….[for example] two Australian medical researchers discovered that some forms of ulcers are caused by bacteria rather than stress and anxiety, as had been previously believed. It took years and considerable energy to get people to believe them: in fact, one of them even had to drink the bacteria to give himself an ulcer.” – Bradley Wright 2010

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