Somehow, the idea that science is proven or settled has become a thing in recent times. I’m not just talking climate – I’m talking about science in general and how it is portrayed by the media in particular. “Settled, done, dusted…..” Er – nope.
The scientific method is very specific. It is an approach that goes like this….
– Observe and collect data,
– Create a theory to explain the observed data,
– Invite criticism via a peer review process of the theory, and
– Model the theory and make predictions based upon it that can be validated.
Essentially, this process calls for continual iterations of a theory until such time as it no longer serves and is replaced with another. Notice the use of the word THEORY. All science is theory. Once Newton’s theories were the order of the day and then Einstein came along and now his theorems are the generally used ones but, as one scientists put it, they are becoming frayed at the edges.’
When the papers say ‘scientists say…’ it should more accurately say ‘Scientists hypothesize….’
It’s the missing word – theory. And not enough people understand science to know it’s just a theory.
I engaged in some banter on the comments of a youtube video recently – I made the statement science was never settled and was laughed at by one commentator who postulated that I was writing my comment on proven science….i.e. internet and computers. I can understand how people can hold such an incorrect view. But, we have a theory how electrons flow and what they are. We do not know for sure. Some postulate that electrons are particles, others that they are waves and yet others both. In recent years, alternate theories have been put forward including that everything is sound. The fact is we don’t know for sure. We do know however, that if you use this phenomena in certain ways, you can write comments on a board on the internet. Still, the science of how isn’t settled and never will be.