Many Scientists and Historians Have Pointed It

The scientific community is well known to have always been highly resistant to novel ideas and innovations. Here are some selected pertinent comments regarding this phenomenon, where organized science is itself the obstacle to the advance of science, and where such has been recognized for many decades:

24 As an example, see R. P. Taleyarkhan et al., "Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation," Science, Vol. 295, 8 Mar. 2002, p. 1868-1873; Charles Seife, "'Bubble Fusion' Paper Generates a Tempest in a Beaker," ibid., p. 1808-1809. See also Donald Kennedy, "To Publish or Not to Publish," ibid., p. 1793. Science had the courage to publish the peer-reviewed results of a tabletop sonoluminescence experiment that apparently produces nuclear reactions. Editor Kennedy essentially advises all protagonists on both sides to cut the rhetoric and allow the scientific community to do its replication work, to either validate or refute the successful experiments of Taleyarkhan et al. This action by Science is a shining beacon to remind the scientific community that science is based on experimental method, and that prevailing theories cannot refute new experiments that contradict them. Instead, laboratory bench experiments must decide such an issue.

"Every great scientific truth goes through three stages. First, people say it conflicts with the Bible. Next they say it had been discovered before. Lastly they say they have always believed it." [Louis Agassiz, 1807-1873.]

"There are three steps in the history of a great discovery. First, its opponents say that the discoverer is crazy; later that he is sane but that his discovery is of no real importance; and last, that the discovery is important but everybody has known it right along." [Sigmund Freud].

"Anybody who has studied the history of science or worked as a scientist knows that whenever something novel is discovered or proposed, there is a polarization of scientists, with hostility and bitterness that may last for generations. What wins arguments is scientific fact, and that may change as the years go by. A good example of this is the geological theory of continental drift, as proposed by Wegener in 1912. When I studied geology around 1950, continental drift was acknowledged in my undergraduate textbook as a crank theory. The first serious confirmation was in 1956, and it was finally established as the dominant theory in the early 1970s. Until that time, anybody who admitted that he or she believed in continental drift was the subject of derision and scorn. Sorry, folks, science is not and has never been the 'idealized portrait painted in textbooks'." [Allan Blair] {54}

"... the four stages of response to any new and revolutionary development [are]: 1. It's crazy! 2. It may be possible — so what? 3. I said it was a good idea all along. 4. I thought of it first." [Arthur C. Clarke]. {55}

"...I suggest that most revolutions in science have taken place outside the lofty arena of the refereed journals, and with good reason. The philosophy by which these journals govern themselves virtually precludes publication of ideas that challenge an existing consensus." [William K. George] {56}

"At every crossway on the road that leads to the future, tradition has placed against each of us, 10 thousand men to guard the past." [Maeterlinck].

"An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarized with the ideas from the beginning." [Max Planck] {57}.

"Peer review is widely seen as a modern touchstone of truth. Scientists are roundly drubbed if they bypass it and 'go public' with their research... The first limitation of peer review is that nobody can say quite what it is... A more pernicious danger is that peer review may reject the important work. As Charles W. McCutchen, a physicist at the National Institutes of Health, has put it, peers on the panel reviewing a grant applicant 'profit by his success in drawing money into their collective field, and by his failure to do revolutionary research that would lower their own ranking in the profession. It is in their interest to approve expensive, pedestrian proposals. ' " [Jonathan Schlefer] {58}.

The sheer massive size and inertia of the modern scientific establishment also exert mind-numbing difficulty in "hearing" and recognizing an innovative scientist's message, even a message of utmost importance, and even if it gets through the censors. For example:

"We used to be able to say things once; if the message was reasonable, it had a good chance of becoming a permanent part of the structure of the field. Today, a single publication is lost; if we say it only once, it will be presumed that we have changed our mind, and we therefore must publish repeatedly. This further fuels the large publication volume that requires us to repeat." [Rolf Landauer] {59}

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