> Feyerabend Wrote:
> "Do not be misled by the fact that today hardly anyone gets killed for
> joining a scientific heresy. This has nothing to do with science. It has
> something to do with the general quality of our civilization. Heretics in
> science are still made to suffer from the most severe sanctions this
> relatively tolerant civilization has to offer."
The "most severe sanctions" that Feyerabend is talking about is not getting
tenure, that is to say not getting a well paid cushy job for the rest of
your life where its almost impossible to get fired. How barbaric!
In any form of human activity there is a general consensus on if someone is
doing a good job or not, and science is no exception. The scientific
consensus, being composed of human beings, is not perfect and sometimes it
gets it wrong, but the beauty of science is it's self correcting and big
errors usually don't last for very long. Probably the longest was the
consensus about Alfred Wegerner, he developed his theory of continental
drift in 1912 but most scientists did not think he was right until the
1960s. But in defense of the scientific consensus until the 1960s the
evidence for continental drift was not very good. As for those "most severe
sanctions" Wegerner continued to make a living as a scientist and published
books and papers until his death. I'd say that science treats its heretics
a bit better than the way religion treats theirs.
John K Clark
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