Saturday, December 17, 2016
I don't believe in science
It's okay to believe in things like God. We take things on faith when we get to the limits of logic and reason. Even in the 21st century there are many mysteries beyond human knowledge. Faith helps many of us deal with the uncertainties of life.
The thing about science is that it's not about belief. It's a method of figuring out what is true and factual. It's the best reasoning at the time with the available facts.
People get upset when science changes its opinion about something. That's actually a strength of science. As new knowledge becomes available a better understanding of reality is arrived at.
Theoretically, you don't have to take a scientist's word on anything. You could study the subject yourself until you had a good working knowledge of the particular field of interest. Then you could look at the available data. Maybe you'd even run experiments of your own to confirm others' observations.
Yes, it's possible, but not really practical for most of us. We should have all received a good grounding in the scientific method in school. When the US was afraid that the Russians were going to get to the moon before us, science was pushed in the school systems. I had the good fortune to be in school when money was available for the teaching of science. Of course, the quality of science teaching varied greatly by district.
If you have a decent understanding of how science works you can at least make an informed judgment about the quality of a person's scientific work. It also helps if a vast majority of trained scientists reach the same conclusions. The guy who 97% of the scientists thinks is wrong might actually be right, but that's not the way to bet.
Problems arise when science become politicized. German science was set back in WWII when “Jewish science” was rejected. Big mistake. We got the atomic bomb and they did not. Soviet scientists had to labor under the watchful of the state. Approved science got support. Politically unpopular scientists found themselves chopping wood in Siberia.
Western nations are not immune to political influence over science either. The Canadian Government destroyed years of climate observation. It's one thing to disagree with the conclusions from the raw data. It's something else entirely to throw out the data just because you don't like what it implies.
There's some fear that the Trump administration might also throw out unpopular data. With that in mind there's currently a mad rush to back up governmental data on non-governmental computers. It would be a shame to lose data paid for with US taxpayer money. Actually, it's probably a good idea to have this stuff backed up anyway. No sense having all our eggs in one basket.
In conclusion, I don't believe in science, but I have respect for the scientific method. That steady increase in knowledge is the reason why we don't conduct human sacrifices on top of pyramids so the sun will keep rising every morning.