This forum is followed by lots of young folks, many of whom probably just lurk and do not post questions that are important to them, simply because they do not wish to be stomped flat by "those in the know". These kids are the core of our next generation of physicists, and they should be encouraged to re-evaluate the assumptions behind our commonly-held beliefs and either falsify them or re-affirm them. If these bright young people are told that they have to blindly accept everything that came before them and is commonly accepted, and then "build" upon it, they are being programmed to perpetuate the failures of our generation. (Google on Cargo-Cult Science by Feynman)SpaceTiger said:Anything seriously challenging traditional theories without being widely accepted by the scientific community seems obviously fringe to me. That doesn't mean it's wrong, just that it's as I say, "fringe." This includes MOND, anti-big bang, anti-relativity, anti-dark matter, etc. Scanning the forum, I can see posts on MOND, "leaking gravity", crisis in cosmology...almost half of them.
It is one thing to pass on the knowledge of our generation to the next, and it is another entirely to pass on our prejudices and ignorances without insisting on a self-check feedback process to weed out the unproductive ideas.
Some regard the "current state of science" as the "absolute truth". Unfortunately to acheive this level of certainty, you might have to enroll in Divinity School, and check your inquisitive nature at the door. There is an old divinity school in central Maine called the Bangor Theological Seminary. I became acquainted with a few of the students at that school after playing chess with them and talking with them on campus, close to where my apartment was, and started privately calling it the "Bangor Teleological Cemetary". The school seemed to be set on killing any inquisitive natures they might have had. Orthodoxy is not going to produce another Feynman, nor another Einstein. Neither of them regarded previous theories as sacred, and both insisted that we must constantly re-examine the assumptions of previous models to avoid repeating mistakes that are handed down to us as "givens". I will gladly link to examples of their writings, if you'd like.SpaceTiger said:This has nothing to do with absolute "truth", just the current state of science. If these boards weren't magnets for crackpots, these discussions could be conducted on more even ground, but unfortunately it's the extremists that tend to be on the internet hawking their ideas, not the serious scientists.
This is not true. It is very easy to popularize science and gain support for its funding. Feynman (a giant in his day) gave public non-technical lectures that were geared toward ordinary people (intelligent non-physicists), that were very successful in conveying his wonderment and satisfaction at learning about simple concepts in the real world. People gravitated to him, and he was a great PR man for science, even when physics was seemingly degenerating into the "non-applicable" field of QFT. Sagan had even more popular commercial success with his Cosmos series, although I'd expect to get more out of an hour of Feynman than out of 4 hours of Sagan.SpaceTiger said:There was even a talk about this at the last American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting. People who don't gain acceptance by the scientific community have a tendency to fight a propaganda war instead. Part of the reason so many people believe the BS is that the BSers are so much more aggressive about selling to the public.
We need to encourage young folks to think for themselves - to look at the papers and the public pronouncements, and evaluate them FOR THEMSELVES. Otherwise, they won't become scientists - they will become functionaries and bureaurocrats in the scientific community. There are open questions in cosmology that need real inquiries and real answers. Teaching our kids to regard the BB and the standard model as "hands-off" and expecting them to be satisfied with scrambling for crumbs on the margins is really self-destructive and dumb.