Letter: Science is the product of common sense

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The Independent Online
I DID not have to look far for an example of a negative comment on science likely to promote its public misunderstanding ("Lewis Wolpert", Review, 31March). It appeared in his own column: "If an idea fits with common sense, then it is almost certainly scientifically false." This shows a misunderstanding of the meaning of both common sense and science. Common sense is everyday logic informed by reliable knowledge. Science is simply a systematic application of common sense to the universe. The rejection of common sense is the rejection of science.

What is common sense has to change with the accumulation of knowledge. Since telescopes have shown that the universe contains billions of suns, so far apart that light takes countless years to travel between them, then common sense has to encompass the notion that no place in space or time can be considered the centre of the universe. The rigorous application of this common sense is the theory of relativity.

John Enderby

Walton, Warrington