Did you hear about big broohaha back in 1540? It was so big that people started using the word “revolution” to describe anything that upset everything.
Yes, this guy named Copernicus turned the world inside out by telling everyone we weren’t the center of the universe. It was a big deal.
Except it wasn’t. A big deal, that is. Not in real terms.
Secondly, nothing changed. Sure, people thought they were going to fly off the surface of the Earth because it was moving so fast, but they didn’t. Sometimes I wish those sorts of people would, but that’s another post.
Most importantly, as students of behavior, there is no “right” or “wrong.” There is only behavior that can be measured with respect to a purpose.
Ptolemy’s ideas that the Earth was the center of the solar system was a perfectly good idea. It sufficed for many things, in fact, most people don’t care, even today. And he gave it to us around 150 AD.
But for those people who really want to understand the universe, it wasn’t good enough. Models putting Earth in the middle were complex. Way too complex.
So a better idea came along. It wasn’t the first time people presented the idea, but now it made more sense, because the better theory explained nature more efficiently than before. Clock makers, astronomers, and physicists were all much happier.
When someone has a crazy theory, we shouldn’t simply dismiss them as “wrong.” If that theory works for them, if it makes them happy, then fine.
However, if we have a question that our theory addresses more efficiently, or if our theory satisfies our purpose better than theirs, then our theory is “better” for us. It is not necessarily better for them.
So the next time you hear someone fighting it out over their different theories of nature, sit back and relax. You’ll know that they are both right. Try and enjoy the spectacle.
That is, unless they are politicians fiddling with your future. In that case, you should worry.
And that’s always right.