[meteorite-list] Age of Man

From: Chris Peterson <clp_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2009 14:05:42 -0600
Message-ID: <07FDB6A9A1714E038B9A23BBD2AFD719_at_bellatrix>

It is an urban myth that Wegener was ridiculed in any extreme way. He
observed some interesting evidence but could not find a way to reconcile it
and existing geological theory. So his ideas were- quite correctly- met with
skepticism. He did not lose respect in the scientific community, and was
able to secure funding for his projects until his death.

While it is true that skepticism directed towards new ideas can slow down
the acceptance of those ideas that ultimately prove correct, it also
prevents science from spiraling out of control trying to prove or disprove
every new thing that comes along. For every Wegener who is ultimately
demonstrated correct, there are a thousand people with crazy ideas that will
always be wrong (or more, in this day of the Internet).

Even if more people had accepted Wegener's idea that the continents were
once connected, it isn't clear that this would have changed the history of
modern geology much. It still took a few more decades before the necessary
technology came along to develop the tectonic theory underlying continental
drift. Science did work, and the state of knowledge advanced.

Yes, there's an element of truth in the "knowledge filter" idea. But just a
tiny element. And its effect isn't to eliminate evidence, but to slow down
its consideration. I've noticed that the more outlandish somebody's idea is,
the more likely he is to complain of conspiracies and flaws in the
scientific process suppressing new ideas.


Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jerry Flaherty" <grf2 at verizon.net>
To: <cdtucson at cox.net>; <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>;
<cynapse at charter.net>
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2009 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Age of Man

> The video's commentary describing "knowlwdge filter " rings true.
> Remember the reception by the then vaunted "Scientific Community's" of
> Alfred Wegener's classic of the mid 1920's "The Origin of the Continents
> and Seafloor Spreading"
> Utterly ridiculed, Wegener continued in his quest until his untimely death
> in Greenland gathering data in the form of fossils and rock samples from
> opposing once contiguous coastal regions.
> Fortunately not everyone dismissed Wegener and a network of cooperative
> allies provided substantial material allowing Wegner to republish several
> times always to a negative reception.
> A world war later, when submarines and sonar played a significant role,
> over 40 years after his death, Wegener was vindacated when some woman
> scientist surveyed the wealth of new geographic information sonar had
> inadvertently provided of the seafloor
> So, if some information seems paradoxical, contradictory or fundamentally
> unsound against the backdrop of the current rational melieu, SUSPENSION OF
> JUDGEMENT might be the first utterance to postulate.
> Just humbely "stick it away" into the vast resources of the brain lest we
> stumble in an effort to retract words uttered in haste
> Jerry Flaherty
Received on Fri 19 Jun 2009 04:05:42 PM PDT

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