Is science reality, or just a description of it? What's the difference?
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Why are there so many layers between scientists and the public? Let's tear them down and see what happens.
It’s a surprisingly liberating phrase.
So if someone disagrees with what you're saying, then a simple explanation of the evidence should be enough to dissuade them of their wayward thoughts. Sounds great, except it never works.
But as the sum total of scientific knowledge grows, so does the boundary. In other words, the more we know, the more we know we don't know.
In science we learn about the innermost workings of nature through a clever combination of theory, experiment, and observation. It’s a straightforward formula, but can it work forever?
So obviously there are sets of questions that science is not very well equipped to handle. Does that make these questions useless and invalid?
What does peer review mean? Does it mean a paper is correct? No. Does it mean a paper is the final word? No. Does it mean that the scientific community has accepted the results? No. It means that one or a couple random reviewers thought the paper was interesting, new, and not obviously wrong.
Theories are the structures that science builds. The artifacts. The things that last. The starting points for even more.
If you apply your skepticism to some statements (or categories of statements) but not others, why are you even bothering?
Quite honestly, the current brand of science is...all over the place.
So what does it mean for a scientist or science communicator to have a mission when it comes to the public?
What do you do when a skeptic or fanatic tosses out a dozen arguments at once? Focus on just one.
Bad science headlines usually involve some use of obviously over-the-top exaggerations, easily-refuted statements, and bold exclamations. Sometimes it’s even all three wrapped up in one.
Is it better to tear down junk science, or leave it be?
What hidden dangers lurk behind even the simplest assumptions?
Here's a warning, from me to you: don't look to science for cheap validation, ever, because it will end up breaking your heart.
Here's my advice, as a scientist and science communicator, on how to handle a flat-Earther: don't.
It looks us almost a hundred years to finally convince ourselves that atoms existed. Be patient.
Peer review is an absolutely essential tool to the scientific machine, but it's also a human enterprise. It has flaws.