[extropy-chat] Elvis Sightings
thespike at satx.rr.com
Wed Jan 31 00:17:37 UTC 2007
At 04:36 PM 1/30/2007 -0500, John K Clark wrote:
> > Do we simply have holes in our brains?
>With all due respect Eliezer that possibility strikes me as far more likely
>than that the editors of Science and Nature and Physical Review Letters have
>all had holes in their brains for the last 17 years.
John has a worthwhile point, of course, and it's one Hal Finney has
argued persuasively here in the past. It's very risky to bet on an
outsider rather than the established consensus of scientists familiar
with a field's theories and data. But that's a heuristic, not the
Word of God. It's a working guide to minimize time wasting. It also
has its costs, one of them being the stifling of "heretical" opinion,
another being the premature dismissal of important new results.
Have there never been any instances where a few researchers found
utterly astonishing and counter-intuitive results that led eventually
to acceptance and glory, but only after years of cries of BULLSHIT!?
Why, yes, and I keep quoting one:
Australian physicians Robin Warren and Barry Marshall first identify
the link between Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and ulcers,
concluding that the bacterium, not stress or diet, causes ulcers. The
medical community is slow to accept their findings.
Data show that about 75 percent of ulcer patients are still treated
primarily with antisecretory medications, and only 5 percent receive
antibiotic therapy. Consumer research by the American Digestive
Health Foundation finds that nearly 90 percent of ulcer sufferers are
unaware that H. pylori causes ulcers. In fact, nearly 90 percent of
those with ulcers blame their ulcers on stress or worry, and 60
percent point to diet.
The Food and Drug Administration approves the first antibiotic for
treatment of ulcer disease.
That's swifter than any likely acceptance of the catalyzed heat
claims, but it shows that expert opinion is fallible, and sometimes
plain, pig-headed, GET THAT DAMNED TELESCOPE OUT OF MY FACE wrong.
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