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The Semmelweis Reflex: An Ancestral Prejudice

Do you know someone who refuses to believe something if it goes against their beliefs or the socially established view? This is a really common cognitive bias. It defines the most inflexible minds and has had serious consequences throughout history.



For centuries, science has had to fight against ignorance. For example, Giordano Bruno was a Dominican friar who lived in the 16th Century. He was a brilliant astronomer who dared to defend the Copernican model. Consequently, he affirmed that the sun was a star around which other planets revolved, such as the Earth.

In addition, he stated that there must be millions of other worlds in the universe and that, in all that vastness, there must be more forms of life. However, these ideas were considered heresy. In fact, the Roman astronomer ended up being burned at the stake. Michael Servetus suffered the same fate after defending his theory regarding pulmonary circulation.




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