Are scientists open minded?

     It is commonly believed that scientists (and science as a whole) aren’t open minded, by this it is meant that they aren’t open to new ideas. I think this is the opposite of the truth. If you look at it, medicine 150 years ago was very different to medicine today. Have you heard of bloodletting? That is where a “doctor” cuts a vein, normally on your arm, to release blood. This cures many things apparently, particularly fever. Believe it or not this weird practice was wide spread! All over the western world doctors were taking blood for the “good” of the people. In fact it was killing people, by the 1000’s. Even good old George Washington most probably died not from the throat infection but from the 3 litres of blood three doctors took from him over the course of a night. Then there was a movement, key to this movement was an experiment where two young doctors who didn’t perform bloodletting, challenge an older doctor to an experiment. The challenge was set, as a patient came in the patient was randomly assigned to one of the three doctors. Once each doctor had around 100 patients they looked at the death rate of each doctor. The older bloodletting doctor had lost 35, how many did the others lose? Between them…… 4! So what happened? More experiments (science) were done to confirm the result…. Then what happened? Science and medicine changed its mind, it was open to new ideas and now no one performs bloodletting (except in rare cases where it is actually good for you).

     Compare this to say… homeopathy which has had many many many experiments (so many I wonder why they’re still doing them) very similar to the one described above, where time and time again the patients that go to the homeopath are no better than those who receive no treatment, and are worse than those who receive scientifically proven medical treatments. Yet despite these experiments (science), has homeopathy gone away or changed it practices? Has homeopathy gone the same route as bloodletting? NO! Why because homeopaths are closed minded, they refuse to see that what they are doing doesn’t work. Medicine has changed vastly over the last 100 years, as knowledge has changed over the last 100 years. Yet homeopathy and others haven’t changed at all. So to the homeopaths and alike… open your mind man…

07. December 2011 by jackrrivers
Categories: Are scientist open minded | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. good blog my brother is currently doing his phd on the nature of science at wellington uni, it is about changing the students attitudes that science is black and white. the idea is to focus science teaching on being able to ask questions and evalute research rather than just regurtitation, using appropriate methods to ensure the answers actually answer the question etc . a true scientist is never close minded science is about asking questions, this is what seperates science from dogmatic belief like religon which will always stop at because god says so or because the bible says so , this type of closed thinking stop us from learning…

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