This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.
The history of science is populated with three types of ideas.
First, there are the great ideas. Peter Atkins counts ten of them, in his book Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science. Evolution by natural selection, the heritability of genetic information, the conservation of energy, and an expanding universe are among those ten ideas.
Second, there are the fascinating-but-wrong ideas, such as alchemy, phlogiston, and spontaneous generation. All of those ideas seemed reasonable in their day, but subsequent investigation proved they were incorrect.
And then there are the stone cold crazy ideas. This is a post about those. Continue reading