http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/02/ ... s-extinct/
Wow!!!Wynne Parry, February 03, 2013, LiveScience wrote:Modern-day science has little room for the likes of Galileo, who first used the telescope to study the sky, or Charles Darwin, who put forward the theory of evolution, argues a psychologist and expert in scientific genius.
Dean Keith Simonton of the University of California, Davis, says that just like the ill-fated dodo, scientific geniuses like these men have gone extinct.
"Future advances are likely to build on what is already known rather than alter the foundations of knowledge," Simonton writes in a commentary published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
An end to momentous leaps forward?
For the past century, no truly original disciplines have been created; instead new arrivals are hybrids of existing ones, such as astrophysics or biochemistry. It has also become much more difficult for an individual to make groundbreaking contributions, since cutting-edge work is often done by large, well-funded teams, he argues.
What's more, almost none of the natural sciences appear ripe for a revolution.
"The core disciplines have accumulated not so much anomalies as mere loose ends that will be tidied up one way or another," he writes.
To be perfectly honest, 10 years ago I would have agreed with every word of that. I was well-versed in the history of science, like any enthusiast. But a lot of the discoveries in the history books were made by people who we would consider to be amateurs. Isaac Newton didn't have a degree in physics, and John Dalton didn't have a high school diploma. Now you need a PhD and 10 years of experience just to understand the problem. So the days of uneducated advances are over, or so I thought.
Then I made a serious inquiry into a scientific issue (i.e., tornadoes), and found that scientists ain't all they pretend to be. Yes, it takes PhD and 10 years experience just to understand the problem -- the way they have it framed. And they can make their work sound pretty intimidating to the uninitiated. But if you actually make an independent investigation, and have the ability to think clearly, and you hear somebody saying, "The core disciplines have accumulated not so much anomalies as mere loose ends that will be tidied up one way or another," you're liable to hurt yourself laughing.
If we go back to the philosophy of science, we find that whenever an intellectual community announces that it has made things so complicated that only its members can make contributions, not much time passes before the next scientific revolution. And this isn't just a simple irony -- it's cause and effect. Once it gets to the point that it takes a PhD and 10 years experience just to understand the problem, they're vested in that approach. Nobody is going to get that financially committed to a strategy, only to proclaim that there is a fundamental flaw, and it's time for everybody to go back to school. And the problem there is that scientific progress, by definition, is a shifting platform. As soon as it can no longer shift, the progress stops. Then the scientists have no choice but to assimilate new data by bastardizing their existing constructs. That's when the constructs get exponentially more complex, and the scientists close the door behind them. And that's where we are now.
But that doesn't mean that progress has stopped. It just means that mainstream progress has stopped. They're vested in the existing approach. The next round of scientific discoveries will go to those who aren't so heavily vested that they can still think freely, and they can see another way of approaching the problems.