September 18, 2004

Eco: science the cure to fundamentalism

Writer and philosopher Umberto Eco argues in his latest OpEd that the scientific method is a suitable counterbalance to fundamentalism:
"Many readers probably don't know exactly what black holes are and, frankly, the best I can do is to imagine them like the pike in Yellow Submarine that devours everything around it until it finally swallows itself. But in order to understand the news item from which I am taking my cue, all you need to know about black holes is that they are one of the most controversial and absorbing problems in contemporary astrophysics.

Recently I read in the papers that the celebrated scientist Stephen Hawking has made a statement that is sensational, to say the least. He maintains that he made an error in his theory of black holes (published back in the 70s) and proposed the necessary corrections before an audience of fellow scientists.

For those involved in the sciences there is nothing exceptional about this, apart from Hawking's exceptional standing, but I feel that the episode should be brought to the attention of young people in every nonfundamentalist or nonconfessional school so that they may reflect upon the principles of modern science."
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