scientific evolution/"virtually never" (was Re: seti@home ...)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 9 Jul 1999 11:04 PDT

> "Daniel J. Boone" <> said:

> >I suspect this "virtually never" claim.
> Me too. I suspect that's an artifact of the paraphrase. It's been 15 years
> or so since I [skim] read Kuhn's book, but I think his point was more
> measured and less sweeping. It seems to me that "frequently fail to accept"
> is a fairer characterization of Kuhn's point than "virtually never
> accept" -- has anybody got the book handy who can confirm this?

I know I've got the book but can't find it now (if you knew how many books I had this would make sense).

If my recollection serves me correctly, I believe the quote that I was thinking of was from someone other than Kuhn. What seems clear is that s/he may have been "extremifying" Kuhn's original work for a lecture or disucssion forum. [Since my mind so easily "extremifies", it may even be me...]

Generally speaking, I would agree that scientists will accept reasoned arguments. There are two problems (a) gathering enough hard evidence to overturn the status quo and (b) simply communicating it upstream against all the entrenched memes.

I think the ideas that I've been working on, e.g. "superintelligences" and "personal immortality within the limits of the longevity of the universe", *would* tend to fall under the "vitually never" category.



[A fascintating paper did turn up in the search for the quote: "Exploring Research Options across Physical and *Cognitive* Borders - Possibilities and Limits ..."