One day in 1788, students at the Hunterian School of Medicine in London were opening a cadaver when they discovered something startling. The dead man’s anatomy was a mirror image of normal. His liver was on his left side instead of the right. His heart had beaten on his right side, not his left.
The students had never seen anything like it, and they rushed to find their teacher, the Scottish physician Matthew Baillie, who was just as stunned as they were. “It is so extraordinary as scarcely to have been seen by any of the most celebrated anatomists,” he later wrote.… Seguir leyendo »
One of the great strengths of science is that it can fix its own mistakes. “There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong,” the astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said. “That’s perfectly all right: it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process.”
If only it were that simple. Scientists can certainly point with pride to many self-corrections, but science is not like an iPhone; it does not instantly auto-correct. As a series of controversies over the past few months have demonstrated, science fixes its mistakes more slowly, more fitfully and with more difficulty than Sagan’s words would suggest.… Seguir leyendo »