‘This Idea Must Die’ – what scientific theories need to go?

I recently came across this article on the Science News website, which discusses a book being published by John Brockman, founder of the discussion forum Edge.org.

John states that science can only advance via a ‘series of funerals’, and that we should be willing to accept the death of current established scientific facts before new, radical ideas can come about.

Following his idea, he asked scientists to submit essays highlighting where they thought the line had to be drawn in a variety of different research areas in order for new discoveries to flourish. It all sounds very intriguing, with a physicist demanding the end to string theory and an oncologist insisting mice are not human-like enough to warrant continuing tests with them.

Some of the topics are perhaps deliberately controversial, such as one journalist questioning the value of the information gathered from very expensive particle accelerators.

All in all, it makes for a very interesting collection of material, and will no doubt get many a scientific enthusiast will now be considering which of many scientific ideas and principles could do with disappearing for good.

What do you think? What ideas need to die?


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