Some don’t understand science

To the Journal editor:

The latest buzz phrases are: “I believe in science” and “follow the science.” However believing in science is not the same understanding the science, its applications or limitations.

Relevant is a very excellent letter by a Mr. Robert H. Blotter which appeared in The Mining Journal several months ago. Mr. Blotter made two important points which I fear were lost on those who would have benefited the most.

His first point is that those tasked with applying the science are among the least qualified to do so. This is because they have studiously avoided science all their lives. Hence they really don’t understand it. When asked to apply science they are unable to do so to advantage. One can see this result with COVID, as numerous governors flail around hoping something they mandate will make a difference.

Second, science rarely produces a unique conclusion. This is left for the researcher to provide. Herein lies the conflict. Some of his peer group will agree. Others will disagree but provide their own conclusions. A third group will look at the same data and conclude not enough is there to conclude anything.

This latter group is composed mostly of older scientists that have been bitten at least once in their careers by jumping to an unjustified result.

As one might guess I belong to the latter group. After 40 years in the business ( physics) and some 80-plus years on the planet, I have experienced some embarrassing moments. I often have the feeling that the more I learn, the less I seem to know.

Often “Truth” is only arrived at by the passage or time along with a lot of trial and error.

Mr. Blotter asks the perfect question: “whose scientists are you going to believe?”




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