I read a headline the other day from Harrison Ford who state that we need to elect candidates that believe in science. Of course that’s a dig at Republicans who are regularly accused by the other side of not accepting scientific evidence. Yes, he’s just an actor and I rarely ever consider anything some entertainer says because in this case especially, it would be nice if those making statements like this actually understood basic science.
I found that a curious turn of phrase though because of the use of the word believe. That alone to me shows a lack of understanding in science. It’s not about belief in something, but the irrefutable, demonstrable evidence. That has nothing to do with belief.
Creationists always claim that we atheists worship the god of science, that yes, we have beliefs as well and science seems to be the one belief they always have at the top of their list. I’m not sure I know anyone that believes in science. Unlike creationism which is trying to demonstrate s conclusion, science works the opposite way. Science asks a question, tests it extensively, and possibly comes to a conclusion about that question. Sometimes that conclusion is negative. Creationists, keep banging their heads against the same concrete wall, never mind that no matter how hard they try, cannot demonstrate their conclusion. That’s why what they do is called belief.
There have been problems in science in recent years: some papers published in peer-reviewed publications that, well, weren’t reviewed very well and later had to be retracted. There’s also been fraud. But none of this speaks for all scientists in every discipline. In fact, in both circumstances, it was other scientists that raised red flags.
Unlike creationists, actual scientists observe and experiment. Scientists don’t depend on a book, written in the bronze age, to describe nature.
All of this is why when I hear someone say that they believe in science, or as above, we need elected officials that do the same, it is cringeworthy. We don’t need elected officials that believe in science, we need the same to at least attempt to understand what science is before they cast a vote.