Date Posted:07:16 Author: Eponymous-22Apr02 Subject: Remedial "History of Science" In reply to:
's message, "Credible Scientific Evidence" on 07:15
1. "In the time of Galileo and Copernicus, credible scientists knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that the earth was the center of the universe and persecuted those heretics who felt otherwise with their "fantasies" that the planets revolved around the sun."
No: Heliocentrism had been around as an idea at least since Aristarchus, ca. 300 BC; the bias against heliocentrism was animated by religious dogma, and Galileo was prosecuted by the Church, not "credible scientists."
2. "In the time of Columbus, the credible scientists knew for sure that the world was flat."
That the earth was roughly spherical was well-known by the 3rd centure BC; no educated person in the West thereafter would have believed the Earth was flat. Columbus' voyage issued precisely because everyone at the time knew the Earth was round.
3. "the credible scientists said it was impossible for heavier-than-air craft to fly...."
I've never heard this one, but I'm sure that your sources on this "fact" are about as reliable as those you used in (1) and (2) above.
4. "Through the 1980's the credible scientists were so sure that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light."
This is the closest thing to a fact you wrote, and it is still wrong. First, scientists can only be "sure" of something in a vernacular sense; that is, they are never "sure" about anything in the sense of having an indubitable, metaphysical, scientific certainty.
Second, most scientists are still "sure" about the limit c apparently imposes. A careful statement of the prevailing scientific view about the boundary imposed by c would go something like this: Although c is in all probability an effective boundary on traveling speeds, the question really has no definite answer yet - the reason being that whether superluminal speeds are attainable depends on the actual structure of the space-time continuum, a structure that is presently unknown.
5. "History tells us quite clearly that he who bases his life on what "credible scientists" say is walking the path of the fool...."
This is a straw man - Nobody bases their *life* on science; they base their knowledge about the world on it.
And what history does tell us is that it is wise to base your knowledge about the world on the findings of science rather than on the esoteric teachings of ancient cults or the idiosyncratic musings of pseudoscientific cranks.