Science deals in reality, and it isn’t there to make you feel comfortable about things. Belief is how you explain the un-explainable. And it must change as new evidence becomes available.
A fantastic Op-Ed by Krugman today:
Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as “just a theory,” one that has “got some gaps in it” — an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists. But what really got peoples’ attention was what he said about climate change: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”
That’s a remarkable statement — or maybe the right adjective is “vile.”
Let’s now turn to the last interview given by Dr. Carl Sagan, the man who popularized science for a generation:
In the Bible, the rainbow is a sign from God, a promise that he won’t send other disasters to the world. After a few thousand years, we know that the rainbow is caused by the refraction of light in moisture in the air, a prism effect. You can make one with a garden hose.
You can’t run a 21st century technology based nation and economy with belief systems from the 8th century B.C. This is completely unacceptable and patently irresponsible.
It is equally irresponsible that news editors and reporters do not mention this right up front in their reporting of these kinds of comments. It isn’t an opinion page thing, it is a fact checking thing. These are facts.
And no matter what these candidates believe in, the facts need to be spelled out in context with the quotes if journalism wants to be taken seriously. Hiding behind bias, objectivity and odd ethics is no way to go forward. It just creates more misinformation and hinders the progress of the craft and industry.
And in these cases, it actually threatens the lives of every living thing on the planet.