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I'm not certain you could have successfully explained the relativity theories, let alone quantum mechanics, to scientists in Newton's time.
But even if we could say that brilliant people have such great minds, no matter the century they existed in, it's not only a problem of (counter-)intuitiveness.
I used the term logic, not intuitive (or worse: obvious) because logic has a universal quality to it, independent of the sophistication level of the person.
Saying that light can be seen as a wave or as a particle though, is not so so unlike the early christianism's theological disputes around the holy trinity's composition.

There is also another point: the scientifical methodology still in use today is absolutely useless in face of a new phenomenon. Say, a parallel universe. Partly because of the technical means available, partly because being inside a system makes it very hard to get a birdeye view of its functioning, we're doomed to advance blindfolded.
We notice some weird behaviour in some CERN experiment, and start building theories as to the cause of it. Theories are built on the base of what we know today, hence faced with something totally new, very different, or overarching, there will be little chance of figuring it out (I'll attempt a class-difference example: imagine someone barely familiar with powder guns and suddenly having to deal with a nuclear bomb; or better, an F22 attack on a tribal army in medieval Africa).
In practice, science evolved by a myriad of steps and streams of discoveries, but they were all depending on the past situation. Something which is somehow outside the present day's scope will likely never be captured by one of the proposed theories, except by accident.
In short, this methodology is not comprehensive, and given the way we constantly get to new levels of complexity of the universe, I don't expect it to be.
Maybe ants are intelligent at their own level, but I can perfectly see why we would never be able to explain to them the world outside.

Note: this is no plea in favour of religion, but just a train of thought that can well have flying-saucer aliens at the end.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 07:11:33 PM EST
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