Science is not whatever “the experts” say it is

2nd February 2022
I’m alarmed by how many people don’t know what science is. This should be a No.1 priority of our educational and scientific institutions.
 
Science is:
– Curiosity and inquiry
– Observation, forming hypotheses, and rigorously testing hypotheses
– Re-assessing when new evidence presents itself
– The removal of bias and personal anecdote
– Available to everyone, not just those who went through the “proper schools”
 
Science is not:
– Religious dogma to be repeated, under pain of excommunication
– Whatever “experts” say it is, regardless of who those experts are and what their personal motivations might be
– Consensus of “scientists”, whoever those scientists might be
– “Data” (by whatever definition people choose to define it). Data is a tool of science, it is not science itself
– A randomised control trial, without reference to the variables the trial is measuring and how well designed it is to measure those variables
Anthony Fauci (he said “if you attack Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science” on MSNBC June 10th 2021).
– Punishing minority views with censure, job loss or physical harm (force/intimidation).
 
Because sometimes minority views are correct. Sometimes we’re wrong for a long time. Sometimes we’re right about the general principle and wrong about a specific. Sometimes gravity is real, the earth revolves around the sun, reusing needles is a bad idea, miasma isn’t a real thing, cleaning your hands before surgery reduces infection risk, and drinking water that’s downstream from where people bathe and go to the toilet causes cholera.
 
The ONLY way to have progress and improve trust in science is to discuss, find the best arguments of both sides and pit them against one another, and be able to change your mind in the face of evidence. If you refuse to read the evidence because you don’t like the political beliefs, the gender or race, the friends, the general vibe, or the medium that person chooses to communicate their idea, you’re not doing science, you’re doing bigotry.

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