Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Harebrained hypotheses prove invaluable to scientific debate
In 1926, Harvard University’s W.M. Davis published a paper in the journal Science titled, "The Value of Outrageous Geological Hypotheses." Davis argued that when a discipline, which in his case was geology, got too stodgy and conservative, it was in danger of "theoretical stagnation."

Science sometimes needs wild and seemingly harebrained ideas to shake things up and get people thinking outside the box. Davis wrote, "We may be pretty sure that the advances yet to be made in geology will be at first regarded as outrages upon the accumulated convictions of today, which we are too prone to regard as geologically sacred."

True. Continental drift seemed pretty harebrained at the time.

Still not buying the ancient astronauts though.