This is a map of what Christpoher Columbus and his contemporaries thought the world looked like in 1490.
From our 20/20 vantage point today, it seems our ancestors were pretty far off from reality.
What did it take to update our understanding of the world? It took many years of adventurous and sometimes dangerous exploration, it took better technology, and the willingness to change our beliefs.
Which brings me to the idea of: What do we think we "know" today that will be proven wrong tomorrow.
I'll go out on a limb and say there will many ideas today that will be proven wrong, in virtually every discipline, from physics, biology, anthropology, and psychology...just to name a few.
As a financial advisor I read quite bit of financial related material, and from time to time, I come across investment products that make some pretty bold claims, like incredible returns with no risk. And when I come across these types of claims, I follow what has become known as the Segan Standard, "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence." Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer, coined this aphorism, which is sometimes shorted to ECREE.
The next time you hear about an extraordinary claim, before blindly believing it, or taking action, you would be well-served to remember ECREE.
As Mark Twain said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
-Paul R. Rossi, CFA