Mis-Science – Don’t Let Bad Science Go Unchallenged
“To those who are trained in science, creationism seems a bad dream, a sudden coming back to life of a nightmare, a renewed march of an Army of the Night risen to challenge free thought and enlightenment.” – Isaac Asimov
I think it’s one of the strangest phenomena in the 21st century that the celebration of free thought and challenging authority has transformed itself into a mistrust of experts.
Although questioning authority and the status quo is an important motivator for change and development, it seems that in the modern age this may be being taken too far. While scientists at the peak of their fields are delving further into the mysteries of the world than ever before, there has been a bizarre tendency in certain sections of the public to go backwards in scientific history.
A prime example is the vocal flat-earth community that has sprung up recently, their distrust of bureaucracy and the belief that NASA is a huge conspiracy have led to a baffling denial of some of the most basic foundations of modern science.
Now, this isn’t to say that laymen shouldn’t question experts in their field. Layman are more than capable of asking troublesome questions that force experts to reconsider some of their positions and theories. But the kind of hysterical distrust of experts that is becoming scarily prevalent is simply ridiculous.
Different experts working in the same field will often disagree with each other, and this means that the layman can make up their own mind on answers to certain questions based on how convincing they find opposing arguments. But in science, there is a bedrock of scientific fact that is supported by the vast majority of experts in the field. In cases like these (Climate change, the non-flatness of the Earth for example) if you disagree with experts, even if you don’t find their arguments convincing, you really should have some serious doubts about your opinion.
In any case, I’ve noticed so many articles and posts over the years that appeal to various ideas and concepts that the authors may have heard in popular science but lack a fundamental understanding of what they’re appealing to.
In this series of posts, I’ll present some of the 100% real scientific errors that I see being made in articles and blog posts across the internet, and say a few things about why they’re errors.