M. Anthony Mills tells us at RealClearScience that “Science Is Neither ‘Settled’ Nor ‘Skeptical'”:
The problem is that science is both dogmatic and skeptical—or rather, neither fully dogmatic nor fully skeptical—a bewildering characteristic that allows science to advance. But the disfiguring lenses of popular journalism and political debate transform this healthy tension into an untenable disjunction. On the one hand, we are told: “The science is settled!” Question not. On the other: “Science is never settled!” Question all. Depending on the issue, say, climate change or GMOs, politicians and pundits on the left or right will opportunistically appeal to one or the other.
Around here, we’ve noticed a lot of instances of dogmatic and few of skeptical. At least, if skepticism still means what it used to. It takes a peculiar form of skepticism to insist dogmatically that a universe can arise causeless from nothing and that inanimate nature can produce intelligence. That sort of skepticism used to be called magical thinking. A long time ago, in the days before science, people thought magical thinking was, well, dumb. Then magic got rebranded as cosmology and Darwinian evolution, and gained a new lease on life.