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November 23rd, 2013, 17:53
Originally Posted by zahratustra View Post
DTE wrote it before but I will write it again: it's hubris and blind arrogance to think that we are close to any kind of "truth". Reminds me professor Philipp von Jolly who told Max Planck in 1874 that there was little point in pursuing an interest in physics. Jolly is credited with the words "In this field, almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few holes."
This is a complete non sequitur. No one, least of all me, is arguing that we know everything about science or that there will be no changes, new theories or further refinements to existing theories. There most certainly will be, that's the great strength of science, that it is progressive and reacts to new evidence.

It isn't me who is claiming some sanctified body of knowledge that is immutable in the face of evidence. That is what religion does and biblical literalism, which sanctifies every word of the bible as being the unchanging and unchallengeable word of god can never be open to new evidence or new ideas.

But, none of this means that science hasn't made any progress. Of the major theories most scientists will agree that evolution, relativity, quantum mechanics, big bang (along with many other theories) are very unlikely to be entirely refuted as being simply wrong. Rather they have been and will likely continue to be progressively refined as new evidence and new theories become available.

As an example: General relativity itself is already a major refinement and extension of Newton's theory of gravity. But… we already know that GR doesn't itself tell the whole story, because it's not compatible with Quantum Mechanics at very small scales. So likely there will be a new theory of quantum gravity that will alter our understanding of gravity in just as radical a way as Einstein added to Newton. But what is highly unlikely is that we will find that Newton's or Einstein's equations no longer work at the scales for which they are appropriate… Similarly, with evolution etc.: Realistically evolution is supported by so much data that the chances of it being plain wrong are minimal, it's just not going to happen, but that's not to say that the theory of evolution won't evolve further.
Last edited by Roq; November 23rd, 2013 at 18:09.
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