Best of JCM: 5 Truths I Learned in Science Class that are Now WRONG!
I mostly wrote this as a humorous piece to satirize the perspective called “scientism,” an extreme branch of the philosophy of logical positivism. The latter holds that only beliefs supported by empirical evidence are valid; scientism holds that science is the only source of truth and nothing can be believed that is gleaned apart from it.
Meaning that mathematics, philosophy, art, and many other disciplines cannot be trusted.
Obviously, this is not a position that philosophers take very seriously. It doesn’t pass its own tests, since it is impossible to scientifically prove that only science yields truth.
As a tongue-in-cheek dig at scientism, I wrote a piece that shows many things once taught as scientific fact are now considered untrue. Truth is true, or it wouldn’t be true, so science can’t be the beacon of truth since the conclusions of it are always being challenged and revised.
Truth corresponds to reality. This means that truth doesn’t change. If it was true in 4000 b.c., it is still true now.
Atheists frequently insist that only science can discover the truth.
If truth is truth, then that means if a truth is uncovered by science, then it’s always true, right?
Allow me to present 5 truths taught to me in grade school science class that have been proven wrong.
1. Nothing can move faster than the speed of light.
I remember an amusing picture in one of my science texts showing a standard highway speed limit sign with 186,828 miles per second on it instead of a typical highway speed (such as 65 miles per hour).
Not the same picture I have here. I found this one more amusing.
Two recent experiments have confirmed, however, that in specific conditions neutrinos can travel faster than light.
I was specifically taught in science class back in elementary school that nothing can travel faster than light. The speed of light is the speed limit of the universe, they told us.
Now, it appears that isn’t the case.
2. Humans have five senses.
We’ve always been taught to appreciate the five senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. However, no one actually believes those are the only senses by which we apprehend the world — five is now thought to be the bare minimum.
Some scientists think we could have as many as 21. Aside from the five main senses, others include sense of balance, sense of the body’s position in space, and sense of temperature (which we can do by mere proximity without touching the object we’re sensing).
3. Taste buds on certain portions of the tongue taste specific flavors.
And anyone who has tested it for themselves knows that you can taste the sweetest ice cream on the side of your tongue as easily as the tip.
And we all know that we can taste bitter on any part of the tongue easily as well.
The so-called “tongue map” that has been around for ages is simply wrong. All taste buds can
4. The left brain deals with logic while the right brain deals with creativity.
To think that the left half of the brain is the logical hemisphere and the right half is the creative hemisphere is simplistic at best. Some scientists, however, think it is utter nonsense all the way around.
It was thought that the left brain deals with details and the right brain deals with the big picture. Early studies with numerical navons (a large picture made up of a number of smaller pictures; a numerical navon would be a large number seven, but as you looked closer you’d realize that the number seven is composed of thousands of tiny letter F’s) suggested that if the subject focused on the big picture, the right brain fired. Determining the smaller element that the larger one was made of would cause the left brain to fire.
However, object navons show the opposite result. Literally, the head researcher joked that the subjects must have been put in the machine on their bellies instead of their backs.
All we know for certain is that both hemispheres are required for processing thoughts, but it is unclear how both hemispheres function in that task. The old ideas of left brain vs. right brain functionality are out, however.
5. The solar system contains nine planets.
When I was in school, we learned that the solar system contains nine planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Recently, however, the powers that be in astronomy changed the definition of “planet.” Objects too large to be an asteroid or a comet but too small to be a planet have their own term: “dwarf planets.”
Pluto is too small to be a planet, but is much larger than an asteroid. Meaning our solar system now contains eight planets (the ones I just mentioned sans Pluto) and five dwarf planets. The ex-asteroids Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris are now considered dwarf planets alongside Pluto.
So if science ascertains truth, why is it constantly changing its mind? If it’s truth it’s always truth, which means that if it science was really discovering “truth” there would be no need for all of this!
Only God delivers the truth, consistently, without all of these semantics. Science will always change its mind. These aren’t the only five things science has waffled about in my lifetime, and surely many more are to come.
This is why Christians trust God, and his word in the Bible, over science. God doesn’t change, God doesn’t change his mind, and only he can deliver truth and salvation. Science can’t even decide how many senses we use or how many planets are in the solar system — both seemingly straightforward things that one should be able to ascertain through simple observation.
I’ve disabled the comments for two reasons. First, because I will get lots of angry replies from atheists. Especially Alex. I’m going to be called ignorant and deluded — and I assume with a lot of vitriol.
I’ll be called an example of why atheists don’t take Christians seriously.
Someone will probably tell me that I’m just plain stupid if I think that this is an argument against science. Someone else will probably tell me that since I don’t trust science to stop getting vaccines and seeing doctors, “pray to your god and see how that works for you, because it won’t.”
Second, I already know the reply and I agree with it. Tomorrow, I’m going to discuss why I think the reply is valid. Then, on Thursday, I’m going to close with why the reply creates a serious double standard against theism.
Thursday’s comment section will be open for discussion on the whole series. I refuse to entertain comments until then. Seriously. Don’t even e-mail them to me. I’ll delete them if I see them on other posts. Really. You’ve been warned.