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Stories are still changing

mgz24's picture


 Looking through the New York Times Science section this morning I came across an article titled Neanderthals and Early Humans May Not Have Mingled Much.  The article talks about new findings on the history of humans and their interactions with neanderthals.  It reminded me of some of our early discussions of whether there is truth in science.  It was interesting to read the article from the perspective of our discussions on all of the different stories that can exist to explain evolution.  This new finding changes one aspect of our own evolutionary history, but at the same time can be looked at as just another story.  While there may never be a truth in science, things can always be proven as false.  So while for some this new finding may be unsettling, I think it only shows how important our classes view on stories are.  While for the time being this new story seems to be the story that will be told, there is nothing stopping another new story from evolving and disproving this one.  



phyllobates's picture

Pluto Will Always Be a Planet in my Heart

 Hah, I  also read this article and then had a similar reaction.  While I still have a hard time accepting the notion that nothing in science can be proven true, or rather theories can only be proven false, to a certain degree I think this is a notion that I have unconsciously accepted and deal with every single day.  When I read this article I was interested, but hesitant about buying the story.  I do believe that certain theories can be proven true,  however, I mainly believe this regarding science theories that rely on experiments, which can be repeated and manipulated to test different variables.  Particularly when it comes to down to social events that happened forever ago I have a hard time allowing myself to accept these conclusions as the truth.  To a certain degree I feel like in 5-10 years (or yes even in a month) this theory will be proven false and a new theory will emerge with just as must potential as the first.  I suppose this sounds pretty pessimistic and contradictory since I instinctually believe the opposite when it comes to hard scientific theories.  I think my distrust of stories (or really of the story sticking around) serves me well in life, it seems like everything in life is always changing.  My mom told me that when she was in medical school they told her that only 20% of what they were learning would still be true in 20 years.  It is healthy to be able to adapt and relearn, accepting new truths.  However, there are certainly truths that we all hold on to.  For me I will never admit that pluto is no longer a planet.  When I learned that pluto was a planet there was never any question in my mind that this could not be the case, and thus while I know today that it is not a planet if you ask me to name all of the planets it will probably be the first one out of my mouth.  While I am sure that as science continues to develop and some of the existing theories (even ones more important that pluto) are sure disproven I wonder if I will eventually grow to accept that all theories are just theories, and that science  cannot find the truth, but rather only reduce the possibilities.

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