SAGE Publications

Tradition dies hard

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Traditions in the way we view our environment are strongly entrenched in our collective mind, and any perturbation that could change them is usually strongly resisted.  However, change does occur [1], even though there is resistance to it, and this includes changes in the scientific process as well. Science is continually developing, with advances replacing what was previously envisioned to be true. Alternatively and maybe better stated, scientific truth and thought are continually evolving, and so could be termed by some to be a moving target. Most advances in science do not normally involve changing the basic concepts that we know and understand, but are an expansion of knowledge to give a better understanding of our world. Very often data collected previously stand the test of time with only the interpretation requiring a better understanding. Sometimes, though, there are changes in basic concepts and when these occur they “rock” the scientific world.

It is difficult for many people to accept new ideas. Scientists are like most people and often have difficulty with change, especially that which impacts on long-standing historical beliefs and the ideas they were previously taught. We gain our ideology and scientific ideas from the generation that taught us. In consequence we often try to adapt the ideas of our traditional teaching to make them fit the new. This is particularly true in revolutionary discovery that modifies some of the basic foundations of science. People that are set in their ways find changing their thought processes difficult and often resist such change.

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