Are we living in the last days of the Scientific Age?

4 months ago 31

When the news is full of vaccine-denial, climate crisis-denial, and people vowing they’ll go to their graves to defend their right to pollute their own homes with toxic fumes, it’s easy to believe that the Age of Reason has been filed away in the history books.  However, when every year seems to bring faster computers, a better cell phone, more practical electric vehicles, and some new gadget that you never knew you needed before it appeared … can we really be looking at the end of the scientific age?

The whole idea seems kind of silly. It’s not as if we’re about to just turn off all the light switches and go hunting for the nearest cave (Which are rarely even listed on Zillow).

However, there’s a very serious issue at the core of this question, one that was recently taken up by an article in Natureone of the most respected scientific journals in the world. That paper suggests that while the number of new scientific publications has never been higher, the impact of those publications is constantly declining. The average new patent application is upsetting Einstein and discovering faster-than-light travel. The latest papers are not sending the Standard Model packing with astounding new results out of the world’s largest particle colliders. Instead, we’re just sort of polishing up the edges of theories that are decades old, and the results of that polishing are, on average, increasingly inconsequential.

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