Time and time again we encounter situations in the history of scientific research where I for one wished that the people concerned had fewer brains and more common sense. Getting out of a comfort zone should not be as hard for scientists as it is for the less smart people who run their lives on programmed reactions to life’s little challenges. After all, the scientists deal with facts don’t they?
Today is Columbus Day, so I have time off to write a posting and also a ready made subject.
Stories repeated for centuries tend to gather a life of their own and take on the character of religious dogma. Any hint that the story may not actually be true used to be countered with "Everybody knows…," A modern version of course is “I saw it on TV.”
Well, it was Josh Billings who made the comment, “It isn’t what people don’t know that’s the problem. It’s what they do know that ain’t so.” And in the case of the Columbus material that is certainly true.