A few weeks ago after a medical school interview in Tucson I drove up to the Grand Canyon for a couple days of backpacking. I arrived at the deep abyss in the twilight hours with a golden moon lighting the ridges in the valley. It was awe inspiring, humbling, and overwhelmingly beautiful.
The next morning with the full sunshine I stood on the rim in total elation. I hiked down to the mighty Colorado which from the rim appears a small trickle. At the base it was a raging river with rapids that could drown the strongest swimmers in moments.
I remembered, as I set up camp on a small ridge overlooking an oxbow turn in the river, a hypothesis that this crumbling beauty was all created by a flood, the flood that prompted Noah to build an ark to carry two of every creature on planet earth. I looked around and understood how that could be justified. The river running through it and the crumbled rocks looked like the remnants of a channel dredged by a torrential rain in a mud bank. Multiply that by millions and you get the Grand Canyon.
There were infinite ways to justify this hypothesis by simply looking around. The evidence was everywhere. However, one tremendous failure of reasoning is that this attitude fails to look for ways to disprove the hypothesis. It doesn’t search for clues that there may be an equally, if not better, justified alternative hypothesis. I embedded a YouTube video below that demonstrates this problem in eye-opening fashion. Our human predisposition, seemingly unfortunately, is that we look for justification for our hypothesis, rather than searching for why we may be mistaken. In this light, science seems less an obscure mastery of professionals with decades of schooling, but rather a simple methodology. Science is simply to look to disprove a hypothesis, rather than to prove it. Truly it does go against our intuition, but it is the only way we know of to find truth in every case. I hope you enjoy the demonstration of this in the video below as much as I did.