Knowledge is a never ending pursuit. Knowledge is constantly evolving, growing, and often changing our outlook in revelatory ways. Change is the nature of the honest intellectual.
The pursuit of intellectual integrity demands that the pursuer keep an open, but skeptical, mind, and when better evidence and new facts emerge, re-evaluation and change must follow.
This is a strength. Science is always looking at reality, and whenever a flaw in an answer is exposed, it looks for a better answer, based on new evidence and better observation, as opposed to dogmatically insisting that the earth is, indeed, the center of the solar system and flat, with the sun and planets all revolving around it.
This isn’t indicative of mistake. Once upon a time illness was thought to be the fault of bad spirits; that’s why we say “bless you” when you sneeze. Eventually, the nascent medical profession in the 16th century started making some connections to environment and certain illnesses (evidence that was known in to ancient Egyptians and Greeks, Babylonians and Romans, the great dynasties of ancient China and the Hindu wiseman of the subcontinent, as well as those unfortunate wise women of the middle ages burned at the stake for “witchcraft”). We now know better. We understand the role of bacteria,virus, environment, and genetics in human health, so our approach in treatment changed. Gradually. Some approaches were wrong and later corrected. Some were ahead of their time. Vaccination was used in the later 18th century during the American revolution with some success and very high risk. This led to further study, further experimentation, further refinement. Today, it’s unlikely that any reader of this post knows anyone with polio. If we lived in a faith determined world we’d still be trying to pray the flu away and dying in the millions instead of it being a moderate inconvenience (it was the deadliest persistent disease in human history until the discovery of bacterial causes and antibiotics).
So where is all this high minded exposition going? The New York Times has printed a new health article on the importance of weight lifting for children.
My friend and reader Thane pointed me towards this article: in the NY Times about weight training for youths.
Until 20 years ago, everyone outside of a few researchers considers this harmful and dangerous. For the last 10 years the published evidence has been mounting to the contrary. I found that evidence compelling and philosophically sound, but would have still cautioned against it as the preponderance of opinion still was strongly opposed. 5 years ago the debate was 50/50, but the trend was clear. No new evidence supporting the dangers of proper weight training for children emerged, while evidence of its being beneficial continued to accrue.
Perhaps this information will start filtering into the mainstream, and we can start teaching our children healthy habits earlier, to take into their adult lives, without dogmatic falsehoods holding them back.