The sociology of cosmology

Physicist Per Bak:

“I once raised this issue among a group of cosmologists at a high table dinner at the Churchill College at Cambridge. “Why is that you guys are so conservative in your views, in the face of the almost complete lack of understanding of what is going on in your field?” I asked. The answer was as simple as it was surprising. “If we don’t accept some common picture of the universe, however unsupported by facts, there would be nothing to bind us together as a scientific community. Since it is unlikely that any picture that we use will be falsified in our lifetime, one theory is as good as any other.” The explanation was social, not scientific.” (Bak, page 86)


Per Bak [1999]: How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality. (New York, USA: Copernicus)

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