This week, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gave a lecture at the University of Utah on “Science as a Way of Knowing.” He cautioned against the devaluing of science in our society, and everyone had a laugh at a slide that showed many Americans still rejecting the theory of evolution. In the face of scientific evidence! he gasped.
But for those of us who have embraced science as a way of understanding the world, are we in the clear? Or is science in some ways our new religion, where we accept things like medical research and health guidelines on blind faith?
For example, how much of the details of medical studies do we actually see? The general public – little or none.
We trust the word of the institutions, news sources and experts that seem the most credible. (And perhaps also the most confident and attractive.) But can our Dr. Oz’s really have all the answers?
After all, research is complicated. By its nature, it is — and on top of that, there are many factors that lead to unconscious and conscious bias. Researchers want to come up with new findings in order to keep their jobs and gain tenure. Journalists need “news.” Medical experts make mistakes. And drug companies can’t afford for their drugs not to work.