If You Can’t Question Science, It’s Not Science

It’s a meme. It’s true… to an extent. But it’s also true, and rather more applicable, to observe that memes are not science.

Here’s how it works: If scientists are unable to question science, it’s not science. If you are not able to question science, it’s still science; you’re just having your freedom of speech infringed.

Because you’re not a scientist.

Some people might feel insulted by this, but I assure you, no personal reflection is intended.

In normal life, you might be brilliant. In the world of science, unless you can understand all the data caveats, hypothesize potential error factors on the fly, and have a true mastery of statistical analysis, you’re at worst an opinionated gibbering idiot and at best a gifted but naive student. Even if you’re otherwise brilliant.

The same applies in matters of law: If you’re not a lawyer, you probably don’t understand enough about applicable law to have a meaningful opinion on how a court works, or even should work. A lot of times, I’m told this is true even if you are a lawyer, a cop, or even a judge. (Some prisoners, who spend much of their free time preparing their own motions and briefs, can give them a run for their money. If that’s you, fine; that’s a credential as far as I’m concerned.)

If you got your schooling in the School of Hard Knocks, with post-grad work at I Watched It On YouTube, a Masters at Facebook and Twitter, and a doctorate at the University of Some Guy At The Bar Was Talking, your opinion on any technical subject is worth even less than that of the average run-of-the-mill genius.

Or, to put it another way: Questioning science is how scientists do science. Questioning science is how rednecks go skinny-dipping drunk in the North Atlantic, getting the rescue squad called, and end up missing three toes from frostbite and with mild brain damage.

Don’t ask how I know this. But it’s true.

As far as I’m concerned, you have complete freedom to speak, and to think for yourself. If they can’t silence Trump, you’re safe. And, unless you have some form of credentials better than “I Was A Navy SEAL”, or it’s your job or at least full-time hobby to read and analyze scientific publications, it’s just you breaking wind through an orifice not usually applied to that purpose.

Again: THIS IS NOT AN INSULT. If you had toilet paper stuck to your shoe, horrific halitosis, body odor that could knock down a skunk, or even Honey It Ain’t The Dress, I’d take you aside and tell you that privately.

In a public discussion of matters of importance, I’m unfortunately compelled to do so without taking you aside. Yes, I’m talking to you.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m neither a lawyer nor a scientist.)

If what you just read pisses you off, that’s probably because it’s something major media isn’t telling you.

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One comment

  1. I base my trust of newsreaders to report on topics about which I know little based on how they report on topics I know rather a lot about, such as Aviation. I observe that when any reporter outside of the technical press of my field comments on Aviation, every word is incorrect, including “and” and “the.” I have yet to encounter an exception.

    Therefore I have little worry that any grave pronouncement on any Other topic by the non-technical press will prove other than “every word is incorrect…” Luckily technically oriented content is mostly readily available for anyone who cares to sift past the click baits.


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