Science has been of interest to me as far back as I can remember, which is probably 1964. Over the years, my understanding of the various sciences has expanded and changed, keeping a bit back from the pace of discovery, but not lagging too far behind. It is this ongoing exposure to and interest in science that makes me the skeptic I am today. I’ve learned that “science” is not always as scientific as we are led to believe and that, more importantly, it is limited by man’s ability to think, reason, and observe. Man is more limited than we’d like to think as well.
The science news of the day, today, Friday, September 24, 2011, is that scientists at CERN may have discovered a particle that travels faster than the accepted speed limit of 186,000+ MPS, the speed of light. While not confirmed yet, the finding, if validated, will turn the science of physics (in particular) on its ear! Einstein and his Special Theory of Relativity from which we get E=mc2 would be invalidated. I’m certain there would be a quantum physics exception developed to uphold the genius of Einstein.
I guess my point is this: Scientists can be so dogmatic on the certainty of what is “known” until the next unknown is discovered and becomes the new dogma. There are those already saying that it is impossible that anything travels faster than the speed of light. Intrenched in their view, they could become the new “flat Earthers” of our generation.
Thought applied, who is to say that any science is based on all there is to know and that the conclusions of science are final? Maybe in some areas such as chemistry, geology, etc., there are absolutes. But in the harder to observe and quantify sciences, to include the sciences that look at evolution and origin of the world and its species, how can they know? It’s clear from the ripples caused by new discoveries that the idea applies here as well: They don’t know what they don’t know. In the absence of that knowledge, they surmise and guess—sorry, hypothesize and theorize. Given enough time though, the theories become fact and science ends up in a rut.
Case in point: Special Theory of Relativity
Extended point would include Evolutionary theory—which continues to evolve.
Excerpt from the article (emphasis added): “It is ‘a revolutionary discovery if confirmed,’ said Indiana University theoretical physicist Alan Kostelecky, who has worked on this concept for a quarter of a century.
Stephen Parke, who is head theoretician at the Fermilab near Chicago and was not part of the research, said: “It’s a shock. It’s going to cause us problems, no doubt about that – if it’s true.”
Even if these results are confirmed, they won’t change at all the way we live or the way the world works. After all, these particles have presumably been speed demons for billions of years. But the finding will fundamentally alter our understanding of how the universe operates, physicists said.”