Why Science matters more to all of us than to any one of us

Posted by on Sep 16, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments

 

865287_4994933_1_big

Some odd conversations recently following my championing here of the Bad Science book.

Here's a thought that keeps coming up:

science matters more to all of us than it does to any one of us

The kind of science that Ben champions is a way of thinking (not just a particular bit of 'fact', a technology or nice idea that lots of people accept)

The fact that we share a way of thinking makes it possible for us all to talk together usefully in such a way that the conversation we have can be continually refined and improved (our fact base is enriched over time)

Without it our conversations and our collaborations could easily go backwards, and become spurious
and/or you or I get duped.

It does matter that we can both adduce evidence properly from trying to disprove hypotheses (rather than just retelling anecdotes or making spurious interpretations of from data)

It does matter that we are able distinguish science from pseudo-science (neuromarketers, beware!)

Of course, the other mechanisms (like copying) are going to continue to be important in how scientific ideas spread but the scientific process keeps us and our conversation honest