Observing more senior physicians, students learn that their mentors and supervisors believe in, practice and reward the concealment of errors. They learn how to talk about unanticipated outcomes until a ‘mistake’ morphs into a ‘complication.’ Above all, they learn not to tell the patient anything.  

—Nancy Berlinger

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Arguably the most famous mistake in the history of science, geocentrism – the belief that the earth is the center of the universe – held sway in the West from ancient Greece until the late 16th century. This erroneous conviction was supported by basic but misleading sensory observations (to the human eye, the sun appears to revolve around the earth, while the ground beneath us feels stationary), as well as by many religious traditions, including Judeo-Christianity. It took the combined work of the astronomers Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler – plus about a century and a half of sluggish belief change – for the correct, heliocentric model of the solar system to become broadly accepted.