How do we know something that is new is not wrong?

Oghenovo Obrimah, PhD
7 min readOct 22, 2019

If something new resides in the realm of the arts, say a novel, painting, poem, prose etc., typically even when it is shocking, it is difficult to label as right or wrong. In the arts, it is all about personal interpretation. So then, typically there is neither right nor wrong.

Outside of the arts, particularly in realm of Mathematics, there typically is right and wrong. Put diesel in a gas engine, and quickly, you find out there is right and there is wrong. Attempt to build a car without ensuring that the engine is mounted, such that it does not vibrate? Well, you quickly find out that there is right, and there is wrong. Make a mistake in calculations for a space shuttle, and you can embarrass an entire nation. Set up a factory belt that is designed to run at no more than a mile of movement per hour, to operate at 2 miles of movement per hour, and you probably lose an entire shipment of products. If you keep your job, you probably are the owner’s nephew, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

In realm of Mathematics, and Applied Mathematics, such as Engineering, there is right, and there is wrong.

So then, in realms within which there is right and there is wrong, when something totally new arrives, how exactly do we infer rightness, or wrongness?

Well, first we attempt to integrate the new knowledge with what it is exactly that we already know. The problem that can arise, of course, is the reality that what we think we already know just might not be true.

When scientists articulated that the earth was the center of the universe, this was based on an observational fallacy, a fallacy of speed, movement, and size, a fallacy which creates the appearance that it is the sun that orbits the earth.

There was Mathematics involved, but the Mathematics sought to establish what already was assumed to be true.

When Kepler and Galileo would overturn the error, they would rely, in entirety, on Mathematics, would discard the observation, would allow the Mathematics speak for itself. It was not religion that was the problem, both Kepler and Galileo were linked with the same…

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Oghenovo Obrimah, PhD

Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos