printing 1997. (with plenty of my own thoughts and recollections added in) I hope they encourage you to look up the book and buy it so you can get the full stories.
This first article in the “Bad Science” category was inspired by “D’ya hear about the moon-bison?” by Lynda Walsh in The Scientist Weekend March 2, 2007.
As I researched the historical context of Darwin’s great myth of common descent of all life from microbial ancestors, possibly from chemicals coming together in some “warm, little pond,” I was struck by how many strange and just plain bad things began during the same period. The 19th century saw the rise of a number of cults, and toward the end of the 1800s there was a strong (but wrong) feeling that science was on the verge of having answered all the major questions, and the 20th century would only see the filling in of lesser details. These are subjects I may explore later. The article by Walsh touches on some of the hoaxes of the time that involved or were related to scientific discoveries. Continue reading The Beginning of Scientific Mythology
Sir Francis Bacon and The Foundations of Science (this is a long one)
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was not a scientist or “natural philosopher” as they were known in his time. He worked in the British government. He left office in disgrace, having been convicted of bribery. His writings, however, described the method of studying the workings of nature as natural philosophers had begun to do, putting in print the heart of what was to become known as science. It was an exciting, turbulent time. Even back in the so-called “Dark Ages” a number of technological and social changes had begun. The Renaissance; Reformation; Counter-Reformation; wars of religion and succession (with increasingly advanced and deadly weapons); voyages of exploration (and acquisition) by Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Henry Hudson and others; the printing press; the works of Da Vinci, Galileo, and Kepler — all had begun to transform the world from the way things had been (more or less) for thousands of years into the modern world we’re living in.
Continue reading I’m not claiming this is my idea…