Don't Fear Progress
Scientific laws get disproven. That's not a typo. Laws. Yes, also theories and hypotheses. But laws get disproven. Health "facts," which people still believe, have been revised many times in the past two decades. "Truths" about optimal nutrition for humans change by the day. Fitness recommendations are wrong eventually. Frankly, all knowledge is incomplete. That's the nature of human discovery. So the balance of what is right and what isn't must shift as our knowledge becomes less incomplete. These shifts make people uneasy. Even the most die-hard progressive-minded people don't take kindly to their paradigms getting destroyed. But destroy we must. Destroy we have. Destroy we will. That's progress. Don't fear it.
Last year, with my then three-year-old daughter, I was reading a book - Women in Science (50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World) - which my wife had bought for her. In just about every case, their breakthroughs required upending nonsensical tradition. This is in the sciences, mind you, where one might expect a bit more of a forward-thinking atmosphere. However, in the deepest depths of hard sciences, continuing into modernity and contemporary times, pervasive dogma and resistance to newness is at a peak, especially if the idea comes from a woman/outsider/youth/alternate-paradigm-proponent.
Fear - we fear - humans fear the inevitable forward movement of discovery. The fear of progress is so great that few of those women every received their due credit. Nobel Prizes came late or never. When it comes to the double-helix structure of DNA, we know the names of Watson and Crick (who stole credit, by the by); but even in the field of genetics research, Rosalind Franklin, the woman who actually painstakingly worked to discover that shape remains relatively unknown at best and vilified at worst.
Another brilliant woman within this book, Chien-Shiung Wu, DISPROVED A SCIENTIFIC LAW. That's right: a LAW. Not a theory. Not a hypothesis. A LAW. Just 60 years ago, might I add.
It's your struggle. It's my struggle. It's the human struggle, both for our world and for our personal development. We latch onto familiarity, old news, wrong traditions. We fear stepping forward. But face that fear, we should. Some have. And some will.
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