39 New Scientific Concepts That Everyone Should Understand

Deep time

The belief that there is much more time before us than has already elapsed. This creates a more expansive view of the world and the potential of the universe.

“Our sun is less than halfway through its life. It formed 4.5 billion years ago, but it’s got 6 billion more years before the fuel runs out.”

Contingent superorganisms

“Biologists have joined with social scientists to form an altruism debunkery society” — pushing the belief that every altruistic act is done in self-interest.

But a new concept, “contingent superorganisms,” says that we live life on a few different hierarchies. The idea is that when you reach a higher level, you are willing to put the success of the group or a higher cause above one’s own. This is what drives militaries, fire departments, and rock bands.

Double-blind control experiment

It’s a tool that researchers use to prevent against subconscious bias when performing experiments.

Understanding the need for double-blind experiments would help the rest of the population understand their inherent subjective, everyday biases, and guard against generalization and impress upon people the need for critical thinking.

Fixed-action patterns

Some behaviors we exhibit we blame on instinct. But what we believe to be instinct may, in fact, be learned behavior over time — or a “fixed-action pattern.”

This has many implications, including the fact that, as rational creatures, we can change what we believe to be instinctive.

“Given an understanding of our fixed-action pattern, and those of the individuals with whom we interact we — as humans with cognitive processing powers — could begin to rethink our behavior patterns.”

Pessimism meta-induction

“Because so many scientific theories from bygone eras have turned out to be wrong, we must assume that most of today’s theories will eventually prove incorrect as well.”

Accepting the belief that many of our theories are “fundamentally provisional and quite possibly wrong,” we can better listen to and empathize with others’ ideas.


Read the rest – 39 New Scientific Concepts That Everyone Should Understand


// Photo – Lucia Whitaker, Thx – Amelia S.

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