Slashdot reader dryriver asks about "the sheer number of times Scientists consider something to be 'scientifically impossible', are badly disproven by some kind of new finding or discovery a few years later, and then express 'surprise' that 'X is indeed possible'." If you do a Google News search for the keywords "scientists were surprised" or similar, a huge number of science-related news articles contains a passage about "scientists being surprised" by what they discovered. There seems to be a great disparity between the mindset of inventors -- who always try to MAKE new things become possible -- and the mindset of many scientists, who seem unable or unwilling to consider that what "science holds to be true today" may not turn out to be quite so true tomorrow. Here's the question: Why do many scientists, having knowledge of the fact that surprises in science happen all the time, continually express "surprise" when they find something unusual? If surprises in scientific research are so common, why are scientists still "surprised" by "surprise findings"? "The surprising stuff is what we hear about, and there has to be some reason why it is surprising," argues gurps_npc in response to the original submission. "A common answer is that current state of science thinks the surprising stuff was impossible." "The whole premise is flawed," counters long-time reader Martin+S. "Natural skepticism is an essential component of science." And long-time reader UnknownSoldier supplies a one-word answer: "Ego." But how would you answer the question? Share your best thoughts in the comments. Why are Scientists Constantly Surprised by what they discover?
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