Structural Biochemistry/Incorrectly Established Results

The field of biology is an experimental science, where the logical theory is only as good as its experimental background. Therefore, there comes a dilemma when accepting theories, should the scientist faithfully accept the known theory for what it is or should the scientist attempt to verify them experimentally? One of the main causes of mental inertia is due to these incorrectly established results. The first form of mental inertia is belief in generally accepted observations, oftentimes due to blind faith in the authoritative source. For example "...Aristotle thought there were eight legs ona fly and wrote it down. For centuries, scholars were conetnt to quote his authority'.[1] This idea could be easily refuted yet due to mental inertia scientists just accepted this theory of years and years.

Another form of mental inertia is when scientists still adhere to the observations made with faulty techniques when a better technique is already available. If an incorrect observation was made before better techniques came around, then that is an mistake, not mental inertia. It is only mental inertia if better techniques came, that would allow the scientists to improve the experiment and observations, and the scientist still uses the old observations for the basis of their research.


  1. Chase, S. (1938) The Tyranny of Words, Harcourt, Brace and Company