I think in this era the evidence-based facts resulting from independent, well-designed studies are accepted in the scientific world and this is as far as we can go. To challenge popular beliefs or prejudice is another matter and is a difficult task.People are allways scared by the new or the unknown because they don't have a clear representation of the new experience.I don't think that science is moving slow in this days, in fact if we look at the last years, new developments arrised in every domain but SMALL ones and having strong roots on well established facts, some of them from ancient times.Speaking of medicine, my personal belief is that from the discovery of the first antibiotic scientist haven't found yet a cure for another disease, in terms of knowing the cause and adressing it with a specific treatment.Anyway, it is a great topic ,I look forward to see where it goes.|
Reply #1. Sep 17 12, 2:54 PM
Thanks diade, and so do I look forward to seeing what follows. Meanwhile here are a few more from the Science Channel where science believed something collectively for decades or more until someone actually took the trouble simply to check:|
4: DNA: Not So Important
DNA was discovered in 1869, but for a long time, it was kind of the unappreciated assistant: doing all the work with none of the credit, always overshadowed by its flashier protein counterparts.
Even after experiments in the middle part of the 20th century offered proof that DNA was indeed the genetic material, many scientists held firmly that proteins, not DNA, were the key to heredity. DNA, they thought, was just too simple to carry so much information.
It wasn't until Watson and Crick published their all-important double-helical model of the structure of DNA in 1953 that biologists finally started to understand how such a simple molecule could do so much. Perhaps they were confusing simplicity with elegance.
3: Germs in Surgery
Laugh or cry (take your pick), but up until the late 19th century, doctors didn't really see the need to wash their hands before picking up a scalpel.
The result? A lot of gangrene. Most early-19th century doctors tended to attribute contagion to "bad air" and blamed disease on imbalances of the "four humors" (that's blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile, in case you weren't familiar).
"Germ theory" (the revolutionary idea that germs cause disease) had been around for a while, but it wasn't till Louis Pasteur got behind it in the 1860s that people started listening. It took a while, but doctors like Joseph Lister eventually connected the dots and realized that hospitals and doctors had the potential to pass on life-threatening germs to patients.
2: The Earth Is the Center of the Universe
Chalk it up to humanity's collectively huge ego. Second-century astronomer Ptolemy's (blatantly wrong) Earth-centered model of the solar system didn't just stay in vogue for 20 or 30 years; it stuck around for a millennium and then some.
It wasn't until almost 1,400 years later that Copernicus published his heliocentric (sun-centered) model in 1543. Copernicus wasn't the first to suggest that the we orbited the sun, but his theory was the first to gain traction.
Ninety years after its publication, the Catholic Church was still clinging to the idea that we were at the center of it all and duking it out with Galileo over his defense of the Copernican view. Old habits die hard.
Pride, ego and simple incompetence (not IQ based, or why the 'absent minded professor' stereotype?) all go to drag out misconceptions every generation, as while technology itself naturally improves human minds are no different now in evolutionary terms than when we began (yes, I've read the paper on it) so prone to the same weaknesses as always. But the costs of prolonging such accepted errors once the truth comes along is the major issue, as time after time they spend more effort dismissing the new data often holding it back for decades, which is far worse than making the errors in the first place which can be excused.
Reply #2. Sep 17 12, 3:47 PM
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