Looking at the agenda I see that today’s challenge is to come up with my favorite quote. That really is going to be one heck of a challenge, I don’t really have favorites. Not for everything at least. I do have favorites when it comes to tv shows, Doctor Who. I also have a favorite soda, Coca Cola and a favorite car, 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible. Beyond that I really don’t have to many favorites. Ask me to make a list of my favorite things or the top 5 things I like and my mind draws a blank. Even if I had just been thinking about whatever it is you just asked me about.
Now I do have things I do not like. I don’t like reality shows. I don’t like the New England Patriots or the University of Kentucky Wildcats. (Sorry to all my UK friends.) Ask me to name the things I do not like and I will not only give you a list of them, I will go into in depth detail as to why I dislike them.
Having said all of that I did manage to come up with a quote that I would like to share. The quote comes from a man that I greatly admire. I have always manged to find wisdom in what it is he has to say. He is a man that took science out of the ivory towers and made it accessible to the average person. He was a modern day Prometheus. It just a shame that he left this world to soon.
Ladies and gentleman I present to you these words from Carl Sagan.
The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
I chose this quote to illustrate a point.
Often times when someone has an idea that is not accepted by the general public, or more importantly the scientific community, you can almost guarantee that you will hear them bring up some great thinker (often times a scientist) and mention how they were laughed at. Somehow this is suppose to lend credence to their ideas. As if the very fact that this person and the great thinker hold this one thing in common that somehow makes them right.
Carl Sagan words put the lie to that argument. People may have laughed at these great thinkers, but they also laughed at what we all know to be silly. Maybe you are not the great thinker you believe yourself to be. Maybe your ideas are just plan silly.
I think it is important to point out one thing here. It is kind of an important piece of information. The great geniuses of the past may have been laughed at, but that was only by those who were uniformed. It was almost always the uneducated public and the church that laughed at great men and women of science. But not by those who were scientist themselves. That is not how science works. For the scientific community you must follow the scientific method if you want your ideas recognized by your peers.
To gain acceptance you must present your hypothesis to a group of your peers to evaluated. It is their job to try and falsify your findings. If any faults are found in your argument you are then sent away to try and figure out where it was that you went wrong. You then start the cycle all over again until your hypothesis can withstand all attempts to falsify it. That is how go about building consensus in the scientific community.
It is alright to laugh at the clown.