I Believe in Heterodoxy

I Believe in Heterodoxy

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A naturalistic outlook offers the thrill of an unending exploration. The tools of science and reason have evolved to explore and understand the world and ourselves. We don’t know everything, but we are learning every day. I believe in this quest. I also believe that it is useful to test audacious hypotheses and that the orthodox approaches are not always necessarily the right ones.

In my travels around the world, speaking at conferences, meeting with entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators, I have the privilege of being introduced to ideas of world changing power. What would become possible if we were to be able to apply new technologies to increase organic plant production by over 200% through the stimulation of the immune system of plants; to forecast when, where and at what intensity earthquakes will occur, with high precision; to diagnose, assist, and cure anybody afflicted by mental disorders through artificial intelligence; to harness the power of low energy nuclear reactions? Each of these revolutions, which are being developed by teams that are in various degrees of stealth as we speak, are against the firm positions of the official scientific establishment. They are officially impossible. And one, or more of them still could turn out to be, or at least impractical. The tragedy is that, within the boundaries of orthodoxy it is not feasible to find out. You can’t try to build a career in physics on exploring the possibilities of cold fusion. Not even to falsify its existence. It’s not that the answers are wrong. Finding out if something doesn’t work is often very useful, almost at the same level as finding out that it does work. But here even the questions are prohibited.

Of course the fascinating complexity derives from the fact that indeed, there are people who are just plain crazy. And their wacko ideas are not worthy of consideration, or resources to be either proven or disproven. There are also scammers, who will happily use money given to them by well disposed funders to live a high flying lifestyle and never achieve anything, or plain steal the funds. How to draw the boundary between radical new discoveries and pathological self-delusions?

I try to be enthusiastically cautious, or cautiously enthusiastic, always open to learn, and to help the ideas, technologies and teams that are investing their passion, energy and skills in exploring what seemed to be impossible. I believe in heterodoxy.

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