Whenever I think about a modern disagreement about some statements of fact, I like to think about its place in history. And history shows us, when two groups of smart people disagree over something, with very high likelihood, their either both right or both wrong (although not in equal measure). Thinking about this helps operationalize the knowledge.

Heliocentrism, for instance, posited that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of the universe. Of course, both of those are wrong. But could we have foreseen this? I suspect so – it offers a simple answer too definitively.

Germ Theory came to replace the idea that Miasma caused illness. But this is one of those cases where, if you blur things out a little, both are sort of right. Some diseases are caused by germs, but some illnesses are caused by pollution and air toxins. Some are caused by things like vitamin deficiency, which are neither. But I think it's fair to say, it was easy to foresee both of these ideas were going to be right. We understood you could suffocate in a room full of air if it isn't the right type of air (I've seen the term Vital Air referring to air containing molecular oxygen). So, as outdated as miasma theory is, there was a floor – it was always going to be sorta possibly if-you-squint reasonable.

I think it's reasonable to say almost all of physics is within the Both-Wrong camp. But biology seems like one of those things were most statements reveal the kind of squishy ignorance where things can sort of seem true even when definitively obsolete – evolution is marginally less controversial than it once was, but not so much that I don't know people who think it's nonsense.

I think this split in how science evolves is why, despite popular and near-universal misunderstanding of quantum mechanics and relativity, schools have been pretty easy to keep on the right path. There's a humility to a field where people make progress by demonstrating their predecessors wrong.