Re: Copy of: NTSE #7

Murphy (
Sun, 02 Mar 1997 18:35:21 -0500

D. Eric Greenhow, M.D.,Ph.D. wrote:

> >For what it is worth, for umpty-ump years I have taught my students what I
> call Greenhow's error: Something that is theoretically impossible cannot
> possibly happen. Therefore contrary observations cannot be made. If they
> are made they should be ignored.

Appreciating your irony, I would add that such a procedure is,
to a certain extent true: A theorist should not give up his/her theory
as soon as some claim is made that a contrary observation has been made.
Observers & experimentalists make mistakes too, & sometimes there are
significant factors that neither theorist nor experimenter has taken
into account. This is a point which Dirac, e.g., emphasized. But if
the observations keep on contradicting the theory, then of course
theorists must be willing to "slay their darlings".