Science is self-correcting

Science is self-correcting -...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7018438 .ece From The Times February 8, 2010 We might err, but science is self-correcting By John Krebs If claims about climate change need to be debunked, you can rely on scientists to do it. Scepticism is what we are all about My non-scientist friends are beginning to ask me “What’s gone wrong with science?” Revelations about melting glaciers and potentially dodgy emails about global warming, the resurfacing of Andrew Wakefield and the MMR scare, and the sacking of the Government’s drugs adviser, have created the impression for some people that science is in a mess. Of course science isn’t in a mess, nor has anything changed. But the stories underline two important features of scientists and science. First, scientists, just like every other trade — bus drivers, lawyers and bricklayers — are a mix. Most are pretty average, a few are geniuses, some are a bit thick, and some dishonest. Second, science itself is often misunderstood. Scientists tend to be portrayed as voices of authority who are able to reveal truths about arcane problems, be it the nature of quarks or the molecular basis of ageing. In fact, science is almost the opposite of this. In The Trouble With Physics, physicist Lee Smolin considers how to describe science and concludes that Nobel Prize winner Richard Feyman’s phrase says it best: “Science is the organised scepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.” An Oxford colleague, one of the world’s top climate scientists, made the same point last
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHYS 50 at San Jose State.

Page1 / 3

Science is self-correcting -...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online