I watched the History Channel‘s from Ape to Man on Netflix last night (released in 2005), which is basically a history of our attempt to find the missing link. Without calling it bias, it was really about the scientific communities changing bias over the centuries and how that bias led to rejecting significant fossil discoveries. Decades later those fossils were re-examined and included in our lineage. I’m sure the same is happening today. The one thing we’ve never been able to do as a species is evolve non-biased thinking. That bias is why the Piltdown Man was allowed to go unchecked for 40 years.
My concern with scientific inquiry is that science isn’t devoid of the vanity that comes from the desire to be right. It’s so ingrained in we Homo sapiens that we don’t even recognize it at all or if we do, we don’t necessarily see it as a flaw. Being wrong is bad science, and no one wants to be a bad scientist. The people who say what is and what isn’t rarely leave their egos at the door. To say that’s not true is to ignore the history of science.
True scientific advancement comes from disconnecting from conventual thinking and risk being a bad scientist. Maybe our society should put more of a premium on admitting when we’re wrong. Maybe we should purge the word impossible and its variations from all languages. I like the word improbable so much more because it leaves room for further consideration. I say we should do the impossible and embrace the improbable.
But hey, I’m will to consider the possibility I’m wrong, no matter how improbable that may be.
BTW – This is not an argument for creationism. I’m an evolutionist. In the spirit of this post, let me just say that the creation theory is highly improbable.
Here is the UK’s version of the program.