I doubt that better rules are applied today, e.g. for dark matter or string theory, than once were applied for phlogiston, or for Charles Darwin’s “gemmules” – it’s just that some more itty-bitty stuff is known. Scientists are in the same business as they were then, but perhaps cockier about it and more blinkered in that sense even if they do know more of the itty-bitty stuff. Isaac Newton after all had a breadth of interests that allowed him to be keen on alchemy and the study of prophecy. An especially high concentration of cockiness is observable among some of those whose profession is computer programming. Some seriously believe the world is expressible as a number and each human being is too. They don’t see what’s wrong with believing that “communication is the transfer of information”. No wonder the job attracts almost exclusively males. Nobody talks about artificial emotional intelligence, thank goodness.