Change: how it really happens

Dr. Max Planeck (i.e. Planck), undated, Bain News Service. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. )

In a recent post about macro economics, Matthew Yglesias highlights this quote:

“Truth never triumphs—its opponents just die out,” said Max Planck, “science advances one funeral at a time.”

And continues with this comment:

That’s one of those quotes where I’m not sure the famous guy to whom it’s attributed ever actually said it. But it correctly captures the contours of change. Ideas that are at the margins in one cohort may become mainstream in the next because they seem more appealing or fruitful or relevant. But already established figures very rarely change their views about anything that’s important to them. Instead they apply their intelligence to rationalizing their own desire to not switch views. And since we’re normally not interested in the opinions of stupid people, we find that smart people are very good at applying reason to the task of rationalization.