Jun 262023

The next time (it happens often) I hear someone complain about scientific ‘orthodoxy’ that is used to ‘stop innovation’ and prevent ‘new entrants from entering’ the field (or equivalent words), I’ll remind them that these were exactly the words used by Stockton Rush, defending the design of his ill-fated submersible Titan.

Of course the consequences are far less deadly when the subject is purely theoretical, like fundamental particle physics or general relativity. But that does not validate nonsensical arguments.

Orthodoxy is adherence to tradition or faith. Science and engineering are about testable and tested knowledge, which is the exact opposite. What folks like Stockton describe as orthodoxy is simply knowledge that they do not possess (maybe because it takes too much of an effort to learn) or knowledge they purposefully ignore because it contradicts their preconceptions or expectations.

My condolences to the families of Rush and his passengers on Titan. But foolishness has its consequences. Sometimes deadly ones.

 Posted by at 10:33 am