10 Things We Thought Were True Before the Scientific Method

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People May Not Behave So Terribly When the World Is Ending, Video Game Shows

People May Not Behave So Terribly When the World Is Ending, Video Game Shows

A beta test of the game 'ArcheAge' revealed that people may be more helpful than harmful when an apocalypse looms. Find out how at HowStuffWorks.

Author's Note: 10 Things We Thought Were True Before the Scientific Method

All theories rest, to some degree, on assumptions. We try to minimize them, because they make up hidden cracks in science's foundations but, short of actual omniscience, they're pretty much unavoidable.

When a theory falls apart, it's often because an assumption was wrong. Science is always an educated best guess, after all -- it's just that, under modern scientific method, we subject those conjectures to rigorous tests through prediction, observation, repeatable experiments and peer review. Because of this, even when we're off the beam, we aren't far off and, in any case, it's only temporary. Einsteinian physics replaced Newtonian, but Newton's laws still work in every situation we typically encounter in our lives, so we still use them. If, someday, someone supersedes Einstein, it will only be in some limited sense (replacing an underlying assumption or mechanism, likely). Einstein's predictions simply work too well to be wholly wrong.

And in the end, that's the point. Science is what works.

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