As I explore the science experiments and history topics for Eden Hope’s next book, I am overwhelmed with instances of “settled science”. “Settled Science” — you almost have to lift your head slightly to even think the words. Al Gore used these words in reference to global warming. That was before data showed the earth was cooling and Gore and his cohort changed it to global climate change. His intention was to shut down scientists and people pulling on their down-filled coats. “Stop observing the facts. Quit your research now!” was his underlying message.
Scientists Francesco Redi and Jan Swammerdam believed that the “settled science” of the 1600’s directly contradicted the bible, and for that reason, must be incorrect. Scientists believed that insects spontaneously generated. The theory of Spontaneous Generation was that insects quickly evolved from nothing or from another entity. For example, beef left out could produce maggots. Insects could also simply appear. Swammerdam was a Christian. He believed the truth of the bible and knew that God’s meticulous order contradicted spontaneous generation.
Swammerdam observed both covered meat and uncovered. Over the period of a few days, he observed flies landing on the uncovered meat. Days later maggots began growing on the uncovered, but not the covered. His findings debunked the theory of spontaneous generation.
Metamorphosis, the thought that each stage in the life cycle of an insect was a different individual or a sudden change from one type of animal to another was another dominant scientific theory during this time. Swammerdam dissected each stage of a bee’s development to disprove this theory.
Swammerdam and Redi discoveries that insects are the product of an egg laid by a female of the same species, disproving spontaneous generation. This sounds obvious to us, the life cycle of an insect is something we color in kindergarten. Spontaneous generation and metamorphosis were “settled science” of the day, however. Swammerdam’s research was summarily rejected and he left science.
It is vital for our children to understand that simply because a bloated politician states something is true, it may not be. It is important for our children to know history. Solid understanding of history is akin to an internal truth detector. It enables them to recognize falsities quickly and encourages them that deception is not new and can be fought.
The definition of “settled science” may very well be “settled science: an idea that is held by those in power but is not necessarily scientifically accurate”. Do you have a definition for “settled science”? If you do, post it below.