The Danger of Science Denial

I came across this TED video of Michael Specter’s talk about the dangers confronting us as the war against science progresses.

Here’s TED’s description of the video:”TED Talks Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.”

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Social Media Marketing Isn’t A Science, Is It?

Sorry, I don’t have an answer. But if I have to choose someone’s opinion on the matter, I’ll trust a top physicist, one who “know[s] what it means to know something”:

 

It’s very easy to convince people that the work you do is backed by science. We hear those claims from advertisers, infomercials, activists, social media consultants and politicians. Sometimes there are grains of truth in the claims, maybe even entire clumps. You can scare people too, in the hopes that they’ll buy your product or service or political agenda. Many patients undergo unnecessary diagnostic tests because doctors are afraid of lawyers. After all those tests are scientific machines and (smart) lawyers use the scientific method. But who foots the bill?

If you think but don’t know that you have science on your side, you’re probably fooling yourself and your audience. It’s OK to have hunches, visions, experience and feelings. If you feel passionate about your visionary hunches and have the experience to lead the way, just say so and use the market as your profitable laboratory.

But don’t say that your belief system is a science just because science works and people trust science. You’ll set yourself up for distrust, disappointment and anger. And then people won’t trust science. In fact, they will hate it. That’s when superstitious fanatics takeover the boardroom at night, nationalize your business and convert your betrayed customers into interrogators.

Fear breeds itself like a virus, one tiny cell after another. What’s viral isn’t always in your interest or mine. And some viruses even the best scientists can’t contain.

You can laugh off what I’m claiming. After all, it’s just hypothetical.