A Science for Everyone

Using Science

I noticed a Dilbert cartoon that seemed to epitomize a lot of the comments I’ve seen on Facebook.

The challenge is that there are a lot of folks who believe in science, or at least think they do.  The thing is, science is a method of understanding parts of the world, or universe, around us.  We call it scientific method – and skepticism even toward your own results is an important part.  I too am skeptical of the chipmunk understanding what he heard.

Part of my job description included the expectation of “using science-based information.”  There’s a difference between “science-based” and “evidence-based.”  Court verdicts are based on evidence – and decisions often made based on a jury of reasonable men and women.  Science doesn’t require consensus, agreement, or a majority vote.  It requires formulation and testing of a hypothesis – and if the hypothesis doesn’t meet the test, it is discarded or modified.  If it does meet the test, the hypothesis is tentatively accepted . . . until a better explanation comes along.

Sometimes it’s difficult for scientists to use scientific method in their daily lives – we all have this thing called confirmation bias.  In a meeting on hiring, someone mentioned the high cost of getting a computer background check through the police.  My comment was “Well, we might just require a South Dakota concealed carry permit – that gets the check completed, and only costs $10.”  The reply, from the department head (full professor and  Ph.D) was direct: “I can’t believe that.”  It was the week after my daughter’s 18th birthday – and I had just bought the permit as part of the birthday gifts.  My fact was solid – but there was no space for it in her reality.

1 thought on “Using Science”

  1. I love the ‘outside the box’ thinking! If all you need is a criminal background check, the permit (IMO) would suffice as well. All companies operate around a budget and if you can cut costs while achieving stated goals, leaders should be open to alternative methods.


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