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Science moves humanity forward, making more and more new discoveries. You should not expect perfection and always correct judgments from them.
During its existence, science has made quite a few mistakes. We will tell below about the most important mistakes made by science.
Alchemy. Today, the idea of turning some kind of metal into gold seems downright crazy. However, let's imagine that we suddenly find ourselves in the Middle Ages. Chemistry was not taught in schools, and no one had ever heard of some kind of periodic system. Everything that was known was based on chemical reactions seen with my own eyes. And they can be very impressive. The substance changes its shape and color, explosions occur and sparks fly. And all this is before our eyes. Based on this alone, it might seem quite logical that such reactions can transform dull and gray lead and bright, noble yellow gold. It was in the hope of realizing such a transformation for a long time that alchemists were looking for a certain philosophical stone. It is this mythical substance that should greatly enhance the capabilities of scientists. They also spent a lot of time looking for the miraculous elixir of life. Only in the end the alchemists could not find either one or the other. The very direction of science turned out to be a dead end.
Heavy objects fall down faster. Today it is known that such a statement is not true. But Aristotle himself thought differently. Although it can be understood. Indeed, until the 16th century and Galileo's works on this topic, this question was practically not studied by anyone. According to legend, an Italian scientist measured the speed with which objects thrown down from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa fall. But in fact, he was just conducting experiments that were supposed to prove that gravity makes all objects fall at the same speed. Isaac Newton took another step towards debunking this theory in the 17th century. He described that gravity is an attraction between two objects. One of them is the planet Earth, and the other is any object or object located on it. Another two hundred years passed, and man began to think in a new direction, thanks to the works of Albert Einstein. He viewed gravity as a kind of curve formed by the activity of objects in space and time. And this point of view is not final. After all, even Einstein has many controversial points, physicists are still trying to solve them and smooth the corners. So humanity is in search of the very theory that would ideally explain the behavior of macroscopic, microscopic and subatomic objects.
Phlogiston. Today, few people have heard of this term. This is understandable, because such a substance has never existed in nature. The term itself appeared in 1667 thanks to Johann Joachim Becher. Phlogiston was included in the canonical list, in which, in addition to it, there was water, earth, fire, air and sometimes ether. Phlogiston itself was viewed as something from which fire was created. Becher believed that all combustible materials consist of this substance. When they burn, they produce the same phlogiston. This theory was accepted by the scientific world, with the help of it, some things were explained regarding fire and combustion in general. So, the thing stopped burning if phlogiston ended. Fire needs air, as phlogiston absorbs it. We breathe in order to remove the same phlogiston from the body. Today we already know that we breathe not for this at all - oxygen saturates our cells. And burning objects need oxygen or some other oxidizing agent to keep the fire going. And the phlogiston itself does not exist in nature.
After weeding the field, it will definitely rain. Yes, for a long time, scientists seriously believed in this. It's actually not that simple. And today we are very surprised why people believed in such a situation for so long. After all, it was enough just to look back and see that there are quite a lot of arid lands around, which are not helped by any weeding. This theory was very popular during the Australian and American expansion. People believed in it and still believe it, partly because it still works sometimes. But this is just an accident! Now science clearly states that weeding of fields has nothing to do with rain. The amount of precipitation is influenced by completely different factors; long-term weather conditions must be taken into account. Dry areas experience long-term cyclical droughts, which can be followed by a succession of rainy years.
The age of the Earth is 6 thousand years. For a long time, the Bible was also considered from the standpoint of scientific work. People firmly believed that everything that was written in it was true, and the information was accurate. At the same time, it was even about completely meaningless things. For example, the Holy Book mentioned the age of our planet. In the 17th century, a sincerely religious scholar was able to calculate the birth of the earth using the Bible. According to his estimates, it turned out that the planet was born around 4004 BC. Until the 18th century, it was believed that the Earth was 6 thousand years old. But since that time, geologists began to understand that the Earth is constantly changing, and its age can be calculated in another, scientific way. Naturally, over time, it turned out that the biblical scholars were greatly mistaken. Science today uses radioactive calculations. According to them, the age of the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years. Geologists have laid down the puzzle pieces by the 19th century. They began to understand that the course of geological processes is rather slow, and taking into account also Darwin's doctrine of evolution, the age of the planet was revised. She turned out to be much older than previously thought. When it became possible to study this issue with the help of radioactive research, it turned out that this is so.
The smallest particle in existence is the atom. In fact, people in ancient times were not at all as stupid as they seem. The idea that matter is made up of some tiny particles is several thousand years old. But the idea that there was something less than visible parts was difficult to grasp. This was the case until the early 20th century. Then the leading physicists gathered together - Ernest Rutherford, Jay Thompson, Niels Bohr and James Chadwick. They decided to finally understand the basics of elementary particles. It was about protons, neutrons and electrons. Scientists wanted to understand their behavior in atoms and what they are in general. Since then, science has stepped forward - quarks, neutrinos and anti-electrons have been discovered.
DNA doesn't make much sense. DNA was discovered back in 1869. However, it remained underestimated for a long time. DNA was considered a simple helper of protein. In the middle of the 20th century, experiments took place that showed the importance of this genetic material. Nevertheless, some scientists still believed that it was not DNA that was responsible for heredity, but proteins. After all, DNA was considered too "simple" to carry so much information within itself. The disagreement continued until 1953. Then scientists Crick and Watson published their research on the importance of the double helical DNA model. This information gave the scientific world an understanding of how important this molecule is.
Microbes and Surgery. Now it may seem sad to us that until the end of the 19th century, doctors did not even think about washing their hands before starting an operation. But as a result of such a negligent attitude, people often acquired gangrene. But most aesculapians of that time blamed bad air and an imbalance between the main body juices (blood, mucus, yellow and black bile). The idea of the existence of microbes soared in academia. But then the idea that it is they who cause disease was quite revolutionary. But there was no interest in this hypothesis until the 1860s. Then Louis Pasteur proceeded to prove it. After some time, other doctors, including Joseph Lister, realized that patients must be protected from germs. It was Lister who was among the first doctors to cleanse wounds and use disinfectants. This has significantly improved the quality of treatment.
The earth is at the very center of the universe. This worldview dates back to the time of the astronomer Ptolemy. He lived in the second century and created a geocentric model of the solar system. As we know, this is the greatest delusion. But it existed in science not for several decades, but for more than a thousand years. Only after 14 centuries a new theory appeared. It was put forward by Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543. This scientist was far from the first to suggest that the sun is the center of the universe. But it was Copernicus's work that gave rise to a new, heliocentric system of the universe. A hundred years after this theory was proven, the church still maintained that the earth is the center of the world. Old habits die off with great difficulty.
Vascular system. Today, any more or less literate person understands how important the heart is for the human body. But in Ancient Greece it was possible to be a doctor, but not even guess about it. The doctors who lived in the second century, contemporaries of Galen, believed that blood circulates through the liver, adjacent to a certain amount of mucus and bile processed by the same organ. But the heart, in their opinion, is simply necessary to create some kind of vital spirit. This misconception was based on Galen's hypothesis that blood moves back and forth. The organs absorb this nutrient fluid in the form of some kind of fuel. And such ideas were accepted by science for a long time, practically without recovering. Only in 1628, the English doctor William Harvey opened the eyes of science to the work of the heart. He published his work "Anatomical study of the movement of blood and the work of the heart in animals." It was not immediately accepted in the scientific community, but then they began to rely on precisely these provisions.