Eclectifying

I talk about things I find interesting. I find a lot of things interesting…

The Importance of Occasional Rightness

by Ken Arnold on Sat 12 October 2013

This article shows Peter Higgs to be a true scientist. He makes sure everyone gets their due credit, he is modest. But his last quote encapsulates a lot of what science is:

It’s very nice to be right sometimes

It is, isn’t it? This is what science is: Being right sometimes. Not always. New science proves lots of existing science and scientists to be wrong, and they adapt to that (sometimes slowly, to be sure). That is what makes science different from any major belief system know to humanity.

It is common for people who don’t like what scientists discover (evolution, an old earth, global warming, …) to talk of science as just one other belief system to be debated. But that is totally wrong. If you are a scientist and you don’t find out that what you know is often wrong, at least in detail, you’re doing it wrong. Science is a system meant to disprove things, to propose more useful and correct ideas of how things work, and then later to to disprove some of that.

You would never hear a religious fundamentalist say “It’s very nice to be right sometimes.” They know right from wrong almost all the time, not just for themselves but for you too.

Over time, every year science is right-er than it used to be, and to be one of the people who figures something out one day that is right — after so many times of being wrong — is glorious. And helps us all be right-er than we used to be. It’s a wonderful thing to be right only sometimes.

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