After last week’s Do you believe in science? I’ve been pondering.
My first reaction was that if you have to believe in science, you’re doing it wrong. Science, on principle, is not a thing to take on faith. It is a field of study that considers doubt to be a virtue.
But here, I define science. Science, as a word, can mean a number of things, among them, the entire body of information humans have learned about the universe. It is also a method, a systematic way to study the universe, what we often refer to as scientific method.
But these definitions are jargon, language used by a specific group of people and not by everyone. I was quite shocked to find that Merriam Webster’s first definition of science was “the state of knowing”.
The idea of believing in science, still remains to a very strange thought to me. But in a sense, there are aspects of science that I do believe. I cannot read every new article that comes out in scientific peer-reviewed journals. I do not always have the ability to read them. A basic knowledge of statistics and the topic is not always quite enough. And, even if I had the ability, it could not be done in a human lifetime.
We live in an age of information, and it is impossible to find the time to keep up on everything. While I can take an individual scientific study, read it, and draw my own conclusions, I cannot do so for all studies. In an age of so much information, there are many things that we must simply take on faith, simply to believe.
‘Do you believe the science?’ is still not the right question. ‘Do you understand the science?’ is better. But the question we really should be asking is ‘Which aspects have you taken the time to understand, and which do you choose to take on faith?’
1 thought on “Believing in Science”
Scientific facts are not static but constantly changing so I’ve found it wise to keep that in mind while making decisions based on scientific facts. I remember my Dad in early seventies banning coconut and avocados from our house based on current medical breakthroughs for example.