"Science is true whether or not you believe in it”
"During the interview Neil deGrasse] Tyson stated, ‘Once science has been established, once a scientific truth emerges from a consensus of experiments and observations, it is the way of the world.’
And, he went to say, ‘What I’m saying is, when different experiments give you the same result, it is no longer subject to your opinion. That’s the good thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s why it works.’
Stated another way, you can believe the world is flat; you can believe that the Earth is only 6,000 year old, and you can believe that evolution is not real. However, believing in something does not necessarily mean it is true."
This is just one of a slew of articles around this general topic. I am a former atheist of 30+ years. I understand this thinking, but it is simplistic. I supervise a lab. I have done this work at universities and corporations for the last 15 years. I have taught research methods and analysis at several universities. I have been on many dissertation committees where I helped scientists understand their own research.
If a doctoral student (and sadly, sometimes faculty) in the sciences don’t understand science, I’m afraid that the simplifications offered by science journalists, bloggers, and amateurs have very little hope of conveying the nuances and limitations of scientific “truth” derived from the scientific method.
I don’t like the language wars, but I have been using the term “scientism” to refer to people’s unquestioning and uninformed belief in the pronouncements of “science.” I had a discussion with a doctoral student once. He proposed that “science” is objective because I asked about the subjective elements of his proposed research. Aside from the technical details of setting thresholds for a declaration of support or failure to support a hypothesis (these are often arbitrary, but not subjective), I had one question: “why did you decide to study this, not something else.”
To me, scientism, places the objective knowledge of science above all others. This is wrong because the selection of the truths we seek using the scientific method are subjective. Choices to publish or not publish a finding are subjective. A peer-reviewed, published article is much closer to being considered “truth” than a paper offered at a conference with no peer review. The public has left the discernment of truth to a false priesthood of scientists. The good ones don’t want the role, the publicity hounds pander to the uninformed crowds looking for “objective” validation of their prejudices. I find it ironic that I have this very argument applied against my Catholic faith.