ddhr.org | 2007 | 04 | 24 about | archives | comments | rss

Scientific fact (2) Tue, Apr 24, 2007
Scott Adams wrote an interesting thing about scientific fact a few weeks ago.  One of his points was that scientific facts sometimes change based on how much "science" we know. 
But is a scientific fact the same as being true?

Sometimes a scientific fact is falsified by newer and better science. That's how science works. So while we assume it is rare, a scientific fact can be false in reality, especially in the short run.
I really don't like getting into that whole "evolution isn't a fact, it's a theory" argument, but I think it's worth noting that several widely held beliefs were later disproved: 
  1. Letting leeches suck your blood will cure disease
  2. The earth is flat
  3. The sun revolves around the earth
  4. Pluto is a planet
So while certain bits of information are considered facts or theories (depending on who you ask), those bits can change depending on what we know or how we define them. #religion

Comments:
Rich Mon, Apr 30, 2007
1. I agree that bloodletting in any form has been shown to be poor medical practice, but apparently leeches are still somehow used during limb attachment. 
4. Pluto was a planet.  Then they redefined "planet."  Talk about having the rug pulled out from under you!

For 2 and 3 we could have fun with coordinate systems, but I'm inclined to agree with you on those for the sake of practicality.

Dave Tue, May 01, 2007
1.  Good point, but my point still stands.  Actually, in last night's episode of House, maggots were used on a burn victim to get rid of dead skin and to kill bacteria.  Slightly related. 

4.  True, but again my point still stands.  Pluto used to be a planet, and now it's not because some scientists developed new information about the definition of a planet. 

Either way, my points stand as examples.  Thanks for not using coordinate systems to prove me wrong.


← older post 1174 of 3123 newer →