Scientists don’t know everything
Those who think scientists know everything are not scientists. It seems a general consensus among my scientific colleagues that the more you know about your field of study, the more you realize what you don’t know. As we become “experts” on a topic, we realize how much more study we need, how little our peers know, how little our advisors and scientific heroes know/knew. We realize how interdisciplinary every topic is, how it’s all entwined.
A colleague I know is involved in medical applications to geology. He has realized that this field now has him engulfed in geology, geochemistry, biology, medicine, biogeochemistry, and many more subdisciplines. I find this an amazing fact in life… things are all intertwined. There is meaning and purpose to each of our lives, and the applications are endless. This is the good news.
The bad news is that the more we know, the more we realize that much of our work is based on assumptions. Assumptions in methodology. Scientists are doing things the way that they know how, often based on the work of others. Work that they may not have completely understood, but they are published, right? Everyone else is doing it this way.
When will we think outside the box? We were designed for more. We could be studying with purpose, without shooting each other down when an idea we aren’t familiar with arises. We claim absolute certainty in theories and hypothesis, when anything can be disproven at any time. Now is the time for the young scientist to rise up and challenge thought. Be called ridiculous, stupid, insane, crazy. All of the best historical scientists were. They were belittled by scientists in their field and ridiculed by society.
How could we be so arrogant as to think that things are different today? That we have all things figured out and are just building on absolute? That we put good scientists who challenge thought into hiding?