by Kitty Testa
All around the world today people are gathering to March for Science. The march was organized to counter a perceived global rejection of science, and as the organizers proclaim, “The March for Science is the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.”
Now I love science. I aced my college science classes. I took evolution. I used to belong to the local astronomical society. I’ve read A Brief History of Time AND Time in a Nutshell. I know a ridiculous amount about the Space Race, and am fascinated by the lives of the great scientists of the past and the inspiration of their discoveries. I am a science enthusiast who loves technology and is enthralled by the creative destruction it brings. I am not anti-science.
But I am wary of the goals of The March for Science. I agree that science plays a vital role in our world, but science should never be used as a tool to suppress individual freedom, and sadly, that has happened all too often over the last several decades.
Today’s scientific experts are too quick to label anyone who questions their conclusions as a wacko, a luddite or an ignoramus. Dismissing questions is inherently anti-science, which should always retain skepticism for its own sake. Science is not about settled questions, but rather a continuous search for the truth. Should new information turn an accepted truth on its head, so be it.
In a world where science has become politicized, the lofty purveyors of scientific fact want compliance, not questions. There is a host of matters on which they want us to just shut up and listen when they say, “Trust me. I’m an expert.” Here are five of them.