Download A Concise Hopi and English Lexicon by David Leedom Shaul, Roy Albert PDF

By David Leedom Shaul, Roy Albert

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Sample text

I tell this story not to discredit other UFO sightings but rather to emphasize what I consider to be the most basic difference between science and beliefs. Science is supposed to be based on verifiable evidence, while beliefs are matters of faith or opinion. I could believe with all my heart that I really did see an alien spacecraft, but if you don’t believe me, there’s nothing that either of us can do to convince the other. For an idea to be science, it has to be something that we can come to agreement on, at least in principle, by comparing notes on evidence that we both can study.

The same efforts at calculation that led scientists to conclude that the near-collision idea would not work also helped them realize that Laplace’s specific mechanism might not be the only way to form planets from a collapsing gas cloud. As they worked out the details anew, scientists soon found that the Kant-Laplace idea could explain nearly all the observed characteristics of our solar system. The idea returned to favor. In science, it is difficult if not impossible ever to prove an idea true beyond all doubt.

That doesn’t necessarily prove that astronomy will always be right, but it sure looks bad for the competition. So while the astrologers just added Neptune to their horoscopes and went on like nothing else had changed, the astronomers kept questioning. And, by the late 1800s, they had indeed found something that didn’t perfectly match the predictions of Newton’s law of gravity. It was Mercury’s orbit that wasn’t quite obeying Newton, and it forced scientists to think again about what might be going on.

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