News Physics

Scientific American’s blog Basic Space on the possible faster-than-light neutrinos …

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Kelly Oakes here (September 23, 2011):

While scepticism is necessary in situations like this — I’m sure we’re all aware of the famous Carl Sagan quote, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” — progress is not made by shouting down anything that does not fit within the current status quo. You never know, perhaps this result will be the one that topples relativity. (They probably didn’t, but there’s a chance, however slim, that those neutrinos did travel faster than light — and that’s a very interesting prospect indeed).

Actually, in some areas of science today, it is not necessary to make either extraordinary claims or fail to provide massive evidence to get shouted down.

For example, all the evidence for evolution points to short, sharp periods of creativity followed by long periods of stasis – which is not the pattern taught in school. In some places, it might be illegal to teach that in school. And anyone can get shouted down just for pointing it out. Readers can easily come up with similar instances.

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