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Im currently reading the book A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, and as I'm reading about the history of many fields of science (e.g. paleontology, geology, astronomy, etc.) it seems that many groundbreaking discoveries were shunned by their respective communities despite very real evidence on the new claim.

I don't mean to say that wild claims regardless of evidence should be considered, but rather that no matter how groundbreaking the claim is, if there is reasonable evidence to justify it, it should be considered and further looked into.

There were a few accounts in the book of how the opinions of a scientific community seem to take precedence over logical and rational thinking when evaluating new claims. I feel like this is a lack of understanding of the scientific method, or merely a poor way of applying the scientific method.

My question is: Have scientists collectively gotten better at being rational when being presented new groundbreaking claims in their respective fields? In other words, has the scientific community gotten better over the years at not allowing opinions and human emotion cloud their judgement when evaluating new evidence? Have scientists gotten better at "doing science"?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Alexandre Eremenko, Conifold, J. W. Perry, Danu Mar 29 '16 at 15:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Hello Hunter, welcome to hsm. Your question in its current form is a bit too subjective for our site. It is hard to say if scientists "gotten better at not allowing opinions and human emotion cloud judgement" because "better" and "clouding judgement" are very vague, subjective and controversial terms. Without explicit criteria what is better and what clouds/illuminates judgement are in the eye of the beholder. It is even harder to compare these things for people from different epochs with different cultures, standards of rationality, etc. $\endgroup$ – Conifold Mar 28 '16 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ The concepts of "scientific" and "rational" are themselves human creations therefore your question is circular. $\endgroup$ – Mikhail Katz Mar 29 '16 at 10:46