Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Fallibility of Science

Those who attempt to derail science, for whatever reason, point to its long history of false conclusions.  The scientific method, after all, is a trial and error process, based on theories that must be proved or disproved through rigorous testing, evidence gathering and experimentation.

Errors are common in all scientific disciplines.  New medications or therapeutic procedures are withdrawn due to ineffectiveness or unexpected side effects, industrial products are recalled due to defective parts or safety concerns, the projected paths of hurricanes are altered and a host of theories are abandoned due to lack of confirmation; in all cases, the setbacks serve as guides for adjustment and further testing.  In its continual search for truth, science hits many roadblocks and heads down many blind alleys but such failures add to our knowledge base and stimulate our imagination; indeed, they are vital to scientific progress.

Yet, science agnostics latch onto these failures, using them to ridicule the scientific method and to support non-scientific dogma based on faith or political expediency.  They prefer simple, convenient answers to the mysteries of nature and their sources are deemed to be infallible; scientific knowledge is their enemy.