Science Vs. Orthodoxy

The greatest enemy science has is orthodoxy. We recognize it in thinking of the Middle Ages, and we are appalled when we think of Lysenko, but just as destructive and not as commonly recognized is the orthodoxy that scientists have imposed on each other. Scientists themselves, more than church or state, have interfered with the advancement of science.

We are in my view, in a period of militant orthodoxy. A characteristic of this is certainty. In my field of biology, the words proof and fact are thrown around as if biological scientists did indeed provide us with facts or proof. The best that most can do, either working as individuals or teams, is to provide evidence, weak or strong, which others in the course of time will evaluate. When is a physiologist in a position to say after a few experiments that something is “proved” and is,...

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