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Why scientists tend to dismiss well-supported ideas that lie outside the paradigm

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A science writer looks at a number of examples from physics:

“The way in which a community behaves is constructed over a long social progress, made by power structures, years of training, reward systems, rules of competition and collaboration between and within different groups,” says Roberto Lalli, research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. He says that history has shown that subcultures within physics—such as theoretical or particle physics—are relatively stable, and that it’s likely that places like CERN and ideas within the paradigm will continue to be considered the most plausible.

“This attitude is not only due to authority bias, but also has to do with first-hand knowledge of the internal reviewing systems within experimental groups,” Lalli said. “This creates a system of trust, which will not change in a sudden way.” Social pressures, like the continual fight for funding and university positions, also make communities more unwilling to accept those from outside the mainstream.

But a case still can, and should, be made for seeking new standards for the system. A sterling reputation can be hard to come by in a digital world, where obtaining visibility can be like shouting over a million voices, and the difficulty of the academic job market has spread talent widely beyond the most well-known institutions. Additionally, outsider ideas can help break the echo chamber that comes of only speaking to those within a relatively closed community.

Claudia Geib, “How Much Should Expectation Drive Science?” at Nautilus

The problem is that people can come to think of approved stagnation as a duty and stagnating as a virtue. Correct procedures are followed without much result and everything is fine. Maybe things simply must stay that way until a new genius comes along and shakes it all up.

But what if people find that they cannot listen to the genius in principle?

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: Don’t Expect Too Much From New Proposals To Detect Dark Matter

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2 Replies to “Why scientists tend to dismiss well-supported ideas that lie outside the paradigm

  1. 1
    Pearlman says:

    important and well articulated article.
    shared.
    Per the Moshe Emes series and framework,
    ‘consensus is a recipe for stagnation.’
    if it were not, ID would have replaced NDT Darwinism decades ago and SPIRAL cosmological redshift hypothesis and model would have recently replaced SCM-LCDM ..
    reference the YeC Moshe Emes series for Torah and science alignment.

  2. 2
    SmartAZ says:

    Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

    “Delivered unto me,” get it? Satan is the god of wordly authority. Any time you set up the traditional chain of command with one person telling others what to do and what to believe, that is a case of worldly authority and Satan is its god.

    You don’t like that concept? Ok, consider that the academic system originated in Akademos, a grove near Athens, sacred to the goddess of wisdom. Members claimed ownership of all knowledge, by which they meant stuff they had made up by their own powers of reason. Knowledge from observation and experience was relegated to servants and tradesmen. Our academic system is descended from a pagan religion!

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