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Re^2: What do you know, and how do you know that you know it?

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Aug 02, 2004 at 18:29 UTC ( #379368=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: What do you know, and how do you know that you know it?
in thread What do you know, and how do you know that you know it?

What you say has some justice, but is far from the full story. When all is said and done, most people labelled "crackpots" will not be vindicated by history. Furthermore the path to discovering better future paradigms tends to be laid down by people working under current paradigms. Currently accepted paradigms may be imperfect, but they got to being currently accepted through a testing process that is pretty good.

I'm saying (among other things) that it is good for all of us to contribute to the testing process. That doesn't mean that we should entirely discard the results of other people's testing!


Comment on Re^2: What do you know, and how do you know that you know it?
Re^3: What do you know, and how do you know that you know it?
by jZed (Prior) on Aug 03, 2004 at 05:21 UTC
    I guess I wasn't very clear, since I was trying to say something similar to what you just said here, thanks for paraphrasing me more clearly. I guess the only part where I have a slightly different view is that crackpot ideas, even those that won't be vindicated by history, can contain some small spark of an idea that may ignite some other idea which will be vindicated. Science fiction is useful for sparking ideas even when it doesn't directly contribute to science. When someone tells me that Basque must be the oldest human language because the last known Neanderthals lived in the Iberian penninsula, I can imagine a nice science fiction story which would make the statement true even if on a different level I know that the statement is a series of weak or impossible links in a chain of improbable assumptions on a subject that is a magnet for quacks.

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