Science and Dogmatism

7 Feb 2012

Another example of scientists driven by dogmatism  - defending the consensus at all costs and attacking new discoveries without bothering to pause and think, stop and look, or evaluate the 'what if' factor. Dismissing something out of hand is a trait surprisingly common among scientists in senior positions - and those clinging to their coat tails. The latest example is at where Rens Van der Sliujs draws our attention to the rock paintings collected by Anthony Perratt in New Mexico and Arizona. He draws a comparison with the reception afforded to Don Marcelino Sanz de Sautola when in 1879 he discovered the cave paintings of Altamira. He was acccused of being a fraud as the consensus was that our cave-men ancestors were not capable of advanced art - even the bison were criticised for not conforming with the assumed anatomy of those animals. Nobody made the effort to check them out. It was only when other caves in other places, such as the Dordogne, yielded similar paintings that it was accepted that our Palaeolithic ancestors were capable of reproducing images of animals they had seen in their everyday existence. Science is so very often dogmatic - what purpose did it serve?