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What distinguishes science from pseudo-science is the ability to construct reality based on data. The temptation to reject empirical data to adopt a popular belief is great. Finding perchlorate on Mars for example was a huge setback lest we forget the primary objective of scientific discovery. When we dislike a discovery, we find ways to discount it but when we like a discovery, we rarely find the time to scrutinize it. Science does not bend to the whims of expectation otherwise we would only endeavor to research topics with a personally agreeable outcome. Doing so to the exclusion of all other topics and outcomes is the foundation of pseudo-science. The ends justify the means. In scientific discovery, the data leads or drives the outcome. The researcher must be prepared to accept a diametrically opposed conclusion to the one theorized. It is incumbent upon us, as scholars and researchers, not to be led by our own prejudices to a desired outcome but be guided by the process of scientific discovery.
The aim of science is not to feed controversy but to resolve it. The aim of pseudo-science may more dubious and jaded. The heliocentric theory, for example, was not posited to foster controversy but to resolve a question. Are we capable of evaluating a theory based on its merits rather than prejudice? If the majority was capable of doing so, the heliocentric theory would have never been controversial at all. A prevailing theory has no advantage over other theories simply because it is prevailing. In fact, history is full of examples of incorrect prevailing theories demonstrating mass appeal of a theory may be a reflection of a prevailing bias founded in the most basic of human prejudices in religion, race, creed or gender and an inability to equally regard religions, races, creeds, gender or periods of antiquity that are not our own. Prejudice is the act of pre-judging or not considering all the facts to arrive at a conclusion. Science does not bend to will of the majority.
Having been theorized 2000 years previously as documented in the scrolls of the Great Library of Alexandria, Galileo's heliocentric theory was controversial not because it was false, but because it was true. What forces make the truth so controversial? Why is knowledge so controversial?
Is forbidding knowledge a legitimate endeavor? Should we not all strive to become a source of knowledge? Does a forbidden tree of knowledge belong in any garden of an enlightened people? What if the industrial revolution occurred a thousand years earlier? What if me manufactured glass a thousand years earlier? What if we had the medical knowledge of today a thousand years earlier? How much human suffering might have been averted? How many World Wars may have been thwarted? How much longer might our planet have been viable? Is there a more honorable gift to humanity than scientific advancement? If the Great Library of Alexandria existed today, would we deliberately destroy it rather than preserve it for fear knowledge might befall a rival civilization? Would Hypatia of Alexandria's beauty and intelligence drive us to stone and flay her for her high crimes of beauty and intelligence? Can we rise above our most basic and irrational fears or will we forever be enslaved by them?
We underestimate the power of human intelligence and science. Inquisitive minds subscribed to evolution long before Darwin and the heliocentric theory long before Galileo. The human brain's capacity to deduce has not significantly changed in the last 5000 years. At what point did we realize the year had 365 days? When did we notice the big dipper rotated about a point? When did we notice the Moon rotated about Earth? When did we realize the Moon was spherical rather than flat? When did we understand solar eclipses? When did we notice the shock of static electricity? Even a mildly inquisitive person will seek and theorize about these phenomena within one lifetime. How many lifetimes might it take to get these answers? Without pseudo-scientific or false teachings nothing stands in our way of becoming a greatly advanced civilization and make-up for lost time. Preventing the proliferation of pseudo-scientific teaching, even when it appears to be a prevailing theory, is the greatest contribution anyone can make for the advancement of humanity. Why shouldn't we all strive to contribute to this advancement?
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