Science Always Tells the Truth

So why is science so hard for some people to believe? Science gives answers that are not easy and it revises them often. Does that make people distrust it, simply because it follows a fierce, unforgiving line of inquiry?

Tom Nichols, writing in the Scientific American blog network asks, Do Americans hate science? He builds a case around the idea that people hate experts more than they ever did before. It’s the scientists whom people hate, he says, not the science.

Look at the big picture: The public wants presidents who don’t know what they’re doing, tv stars who are relatable but maybe lack talent, “personal belief” exemptions that allow them to refuse to vaccinate their children, ignoring the responsibility they have to the rest of us. It’s easy to hate the idea of expertise and appoint foreign policy advisors with no foreign policy experience, name education and housing cabinet members with no education or housing policy background.

Complexity is one reason people don’t embrace science, or more properly, why they don’t like scientists very much. Scientists understand complex processes, but they rarely give simple answers about them. Scientists agree, for example, that the planet’s climate is changing. But their answer about the process can be complex. The public turns away, looking for simple (and simple-minded) leaders and answers.

Read the rest of the post on Medium, where it first appeared.