I’m thinking of things like heliocentrism where there was some modern discovery or revelation by science that invalidated a common assumption prior.

My understanding is that flat earth is more a recent phenomena but I’d love to hear some ancient ideas people now miss. Did people think trees weren’t alive? Did people think evaporation was where things simply disappeared?

I’d would love to hear these ideas.

  • @an_onanist
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    4011 months ago

    Ignaz Semmelweis tried to convince the medical establishment that washing hand stop’the spread of disease in hospitals. His colleagues responded that doctors are gentlemen and gentlempdo not have dirty hands. Semmelweis was committed to a mental institution soon after and died from an infection as a result of a beoti’he received from institution workers. A few decades later the four humors school of medicine was replaced with diseases caused by microorganisms.

    • @[email protected]
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      2211 months ago

      Before that, nurses and midwives were well aware that cleanliness was important to not spreading disease. But that’s left out of history altogether.

    • Chaotic Entropy
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      711 months ago

      My immediate thought was also about how incredulous the medical community was about washing their hands. Madness.

    • @[email protected]
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      511 months ago

      Imagine living at a time when the germ theory of disease wasn’t widely accepted. You might even need to convince people that microbes exist. If they already know about microbes, they might believe that microbes spawn out of thin air through abiogenesis. Previously that word was used when talking about microbes spoiling food whereas nowadays it’s applied to the early stages of the earth.

  • @count_of_monte_carloM
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    3611 months ago

    Not exactly a scientific debate, but among the general public there was strong opposition to the idea that rocket engines would work in space, where there’s “nothing to push against.” Famously, the New York Times editorial board mocked Robert Goddard (the rocket scientist that now has a NASA space flight center named after him) in a 1920 article:

    “That Professor Goddard, with his ‘chair’ in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react — to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.”

    Image of the editorial

    The New York Times eventually formally retracted that op ed, on July 17th, 1969 - while the Apollo 11 crew was already en route to the moon. The retraction is pretty funny:

    Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.

    Retraction source

    • DreamerOfImprobableDreams
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      11 months ago

      Goddard wasn’t just another rocket scientist, he was the inventor of the liquid fuel rocket! And he also made a ton of other key discoveries about rocket design that formed the groundwork for rocketry as we know it today.

      • @transmatrix
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        211 months ago

        He was also a victim of the pendulum rocket fallacy.

        • @Thorndike
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          211 months ago

          I’ve never heard of this before… am I going to regret going down this rabbit hole?

  • @[email protected]
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    2611 months ago

    “‘There was some wonderful stuff about [railway trains] too in the U.S., that women’s bodies were not designed to go at 50 miles an hour. Our uteruses would fly out of our bodies as they were accelerated to that speed.’” From: https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-TEB-2814

    There were (and are) a ton of utterly ridiculous beliefs about what can cause harm to women, but I find this one particularly amusing in an age where millions of women fly on planes. Imagine the plane takes off, leaving all those wayward uteri spinning in the dust at the gate…

    • DreamerOfImprobableDreams
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      11 months ago

      Like… they did realize any acceleration strong enough to cause your uterus to go flying out would also be strong enough to make all your other internal organs fly out too? And that men, in fact, have internal organs?

    • @[email protected]
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      911 months ago

      In my mental image, the spinning uteri danced before feinting dramatically. Unexpected.

      • @[email protected]
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        711 months ago

        “The Uterine Dance” was after the Spanish chocolate but before the Bon-Bons, right? Been a while since I’ve seen The Nutcracker.

    • fiat_lux
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      611 months ago

      Some beliefs along these lines have been used more recently in extremely religious places like Saudi Arabia.

      "If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards,” …

      “That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees,”

      From 2013, a cleric’s arguments to deny Saudi women the right to drive

      Thankfully the ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia was lifted in June 2018, but it took a lot to get there.

  • @stanleytweedle
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    2211 months ago

    This isn’t exactly a ‘science debate’ but I’ve met several people that still think the ‘Great Wall is the only man made object visible from orbit.’ I read somewhere that may come from a dream some Chinese king had like 1000 years ago.

    Almost crazier than flat-Earth in terms of being easily disprovable just by thinking about it for 20 seconds, but people have stated that to me as a fact and were kind of incensed when I explain it’s obvious nonsense.

    • Tomassci
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      411 months ago

      Though, satellites on the orbit are the only man-made objects in space visible from the Great Wall.

  • @[email protected]
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    1711 months ago

    Personal favorite is probably Lamarckian Inheritance. Feels like super buff people having wimpy ass babies would key people in that acquired traits weren’t being passed on.

    But it’s also the textbook example of how science progresses even when the underlying model being used is incorrect. Darwin credited Lamarck for suggesting a potential mechanism for evolution. Works prior to Mendel were direct tests to Lamarckism. Mendel responded to those, and on and on it goes. Lamarck helped push the field along and that’s great.

    Side note, people like to say epigenetics is a continuation of Lamarckism but I’d disagree completely. Heritability of traits is what is important here, and epigenetic marks don’t necessarily tag the genes that contribute to the traits themselves.

  • @theywilleatthestars
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    1511 months ago

    Pretty wild to me that it took as late as it did to figure out spontaneous generation wasn’t real.

    • @xylogx
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      1911 months ago

      I kind of feel the opposite. There are literally invisible spores that float around the air that can spring to life in the right conditions. Until you discover the means of transport, spontaneous generation is a hypothesis that matches the facts.

  • @Snowman44
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    711 months ago

    Do people get sick because of germs or demons?

  • @[email protected]
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    711 months ago

    The funny thing about heliocentrism is, that isn’t really the modern view either. The modern view is that there are no privileged reference frames, and heliocentrism and geocentrisms are just questions of reference frame. You can construct consistent physical models from either, and for example, you’ll probably use a geocentric model if you’re gonna launch a satellite.

    But another fun one is the so-called discovery of oxygen, which is really about what’s going on with fire. Before Lavoisier, the dominant belief was that fire is the release of phlogiston. What discredited this was the discovery of materials that get heavier when burned.

    • Kraiden
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      711 months ago

      Not any kind of expert, but this seems wrong to me. My understanding is that heliocentrism vs geocentrism is about the whole solar system, ie: the same frame of reference.

      So if you were launching a satellite, yes, you would use earth as your reference point but that is NOT geocentrism. You would never use a geocentric model. Ever. Not these days anyway.

      Again though, I’m not an expert so maybe don’t take this as law

      • ChemicalRascal
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        611 months ago

        You’re absolutely right. Heliocentrism and geocentrism aren’t “questions of reference frame”, they’re cosmological models.

        Nobody is using a geocentric model when they launch satellites, as any geocentric model that works with our existing observations of the universe ultimately does not have a functional understanding of gravity. And it will be remarkably difficult to keep a satellite in orbit if you disagree with the universe about how gravity works.

  • @Spellblade
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    611 months ago

    Continental drift or just the idea that the continents move. And it makes sense, looking at a map of the earth, you can clearly see that some landmasses look like they fit together like puzzle pieces. Combined with the fossil record with also supported this, it seems obvious to us now, the continents were once all one landmass. However, back then, the issue was Alfred Wegener, who came up with continental drift, didn’t have an adequate mechanism for how it worked. The question on everyone’s mind was, if the continents moved, HOW did they move? There wasn’t a good answer. It was suggested at one point that the continents maybe just plowed through the ocean crust. But that idea doesn’t work because the ocean crust is too rigid. So without any mechanism to get it to work, many geologists simply dismissed the idea. And to be fair to them, most of what Wegener claimed was indeed wrong.

    Further advancements in geology and technology allowed for a better understanding of the earth. A key finding was paleomagnetic stripes on the ocean floor which proved that the earth’s crust, and the continents must be moving. This, combined with other evidence helped construct the modern theory of plate tectonics.