4 Stages of Scientific Discovery

Some folks idealize science and give it a credit for objectivity and integrity that it doesn’t deserve. But like politics, business, industry, school, and research, it’s made of people. People have egos, frailties, emotions, blind-spots, bigotries and so on. The 4 stages of scientific discovery are:

  1. Denial in its existence
  2. Denial in its significance
  3. Misattribution to who did the work
  4. Refutation

There’s almost never been a theory that was readily accepted when first presented — often they attacked and harangued the author during his lifetime. And most "discoveries" are misattributed to the wrong person. And almost everything we know is built on the corpses of other theories (that we at one time were 100% sure were correct). Just like many of today’s beliefs will be in the future.

Almost everything in science has more than one potential explanation for why — we just play the odds and attribute to the simplest. Does that mean it’s right? Nope. Does it mean the consensus will welcome things that challenge the orthodoxy? God no! They’re petty little ivory-towered dick-heads, that will henpeck and attack anyone that challenges them.

Here’s a great book on the topic — it covers lots of things. But in reading it, you’ll get a laugh (or not) out of who is misattributed for what, the egos in science, the petty and vindictive nature. Scientists are not only above politics, they’re often the most immature and least well adjusted of us, which is why they went into some abstract theory research (because others couldn’t stand to be around them).


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