For quite some time, science has been presented to the public in a distorted way. Reports of statements by scientists are often stated as absolutely certain truths, never mentioning any doubts or questions. Seldom do reporters inquire about how they became so certain, why they have such high confidence.
That image simply isn’t true. A major disconnect exists between what really happens and reported science. Real science is always subject to revision, never “absolutely final.” In everyday conversation, a person might say “I’m absolutely certain about that” but among responsible scientists, even the strongest affirmations always begin with “To the best of our scientific knowledge at this time …”
Maybe, given the history of corrections in science (which come slowly), it might be wiser to show a little humility and allow for the possibility of a revision. More.
I was thinking of adding “Why are popular science media so gullible?” to my list of questions about what methodological naturalism has done for science, but hesitate because the answer to that one may be sociological. They might have been gullible about whatever wind was blowing through town.
However, it’s possible we are entering a period when people sense that the canned version we get from the pop science media is not representative enough of science today to be a reliable guide. What happens then will make the pop science media part of the story themselves, just as the decline of general news media behemoths made them part of the story. Thoughts?
– O’Leary for News