Most scientific mistakes are made in private – scientists don’t like bungling in public. But some of the greatest scientists and inventors in history have bungled in public, their utterances refuted within just a few years. Some were unsupportable even at the time they were made. Collectively they call to mind Arthur C. Clarke’s well-known law:
“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”
My only disagreement with Clarke is over the scientist’s age. Younger scientists are also perfectly capable of embarrassing themselves.
Author of this page: The Doc
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Jerrold L. Gray says
One of my Favorite quotes I include in my email signature
When you seek a new path to truth, you must
expect to find it blocked by expert opinion.
— Albert J. Guerard
Hieronymus Bosch says
From Carl Sagan… “Mistrust arguments from authority… Too many such arguments have proved too painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like everybody else.”