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Why Do We Keep Surprising Ourselves?

Why Do We Keep Surprising Ourselves?

We seem to have a smugness problem that is as old as mankind.  Once we discover a new fact of science our past naiveté on the subject perfectly demonstrates persistent limited thinking and then we do it again.  And again.

The earth was flat, we were the center of the universe, new discoveries, expanded truths and finally we know it all.  Most would say we don’t know it all and I suppose that was a blanket statement but even people who realize there are so many new things to be learned sometimes make statements that make no sense to me.

I read an article the other day and wish I had saved it, in which an ‘expert’ said that scientists accepted the premise that nothing can ever travel faster than the speed of light.  My immediate thought was how could anyone be so smug in that belief?  You would think that the debunking of past beliefs would be proof enough that we can never declare absolutes, we can only state that ‘at this time we believe’.

http://www.Sciencedaily.com posted this today:

“This result comes as a complete surprise,” said OPERA spokesperson, Antonio Ereditato of the University of Bern.

” The OPERA result is based on the observation of over 15000 neutrino events measured at Gran Sasso, and appears to indicate that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light, nature’s cosmic speed limit.”

My point is not that we should be surprised, my point is that we should expect to be surprised.

These thoughts were inspired by Bob Vardeman’s blog at http://robertvardeman.wordpress.com