Friday, January 8, 2010

Defending science : Again and Again

My latest defense of science is up in the comments at The Intersection. I just have to say that it IRKS me beyond belief that so many people think "science" is some sort of massive conspiracy to waste money. Anyone of my carefully vetted readers want to help me out?

Let me close with this:

Science will never AGREE 100% with anyone’s personal or political worldview or beliefs. NEVER!

Nor should it. That doesn’t make sceince “bad” or “wrong” or “suspect.” Rather, that makes science an independent path to understanding how the world works. For that reason alone it should continue unfettered and fully supported. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have eradicated polio, learned how to prevent skin cancer, or discovered the caridac healing properties of red wine. If science was always constrained by politics, you wouldn’t have smoke alarms, or reusable coffee mugs, or windshield washer fliud that can dissolve ice.

Of course, maybe you don’t want such things.


secularist10 said...

The one thing we can say is that most people who are so suspicious of certain scientific findings typically are suspicious not for the sake of knowledge itself (if they were, they would be generally skeptical of everything, not skeptical on individual issues), but for the sake of their own assumptions or beliefs--religious beliefs, political, etc.

You make a great point about the fruits of science. One must ask such people who are so critical of the scientific process: do you drive a car? use a cell phone? use air travel? If so, then they have no legitimacy in bashing the process that produced them.

jg said...

Your example exposes a paradox in the art of persuasion. You have to let your opponent think he/she arrived at the correct conclusion rather than being persuaded by others. But science teaches us that often, the correct conclusion is not one's original thought.

Philip H. said...

I think the real problem is that the science behind cell phones, airplane flights, and car is so removed from daily existance that most people don't think baout htose things as being science or science related. Many of my fellow science-oriented blogeers would respond that its a failing of the education system, but I view it as an economic conundrum. Same with railroads, FWIW.