It’s virtually a universally used term, and most people have their own conceptions about what it means, encompasses, and represents.
The dictionary defines it this way:
“a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws”
“systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”
As these definitions show, it is an extremely broad term that does not carry much weight on its own.
Like the terms “sports” or “religion,” the lack of specificity inherent to the term “science” means that little can be truly said by merely using the word itself.
Apart from making observations that cannot be refuted in earnest, these terms are of little use.
“Sports involve athletic activity”
“Religion is a particular set of values adhered to by its followers”
What form of activity, or which sets of values being alluded to varies substantially depending on the specific iteration of a given sport or religion.
The wide array of vastly different ideas that these terms encompass highlights the uselessness of the terms themselves, at least in terms of debate and discourse.
Yet, if you listen to “debates” over issues such as climate change- another vague term that carries little weight on its own when taken at face value- you are certain to hear the term “science” used repeatedly as if it were a case-closing argument in and of itself.
This alone signals a fundamental misunderstanding about what science entails.Admittedly, I am no scientist. Not by a long shot. Passing high school chemistry easily qualifies as one of the major hurdles in my life so far.
But even I know that many of the theories essentially accepted by the educated world at one time or another have eventually been debunked, superseded by stronger theories and/or conflicting evidence.
The list of debunked theories spans the fields of biology, chemistry, astronomy and cosmology, geography, psychology, medicine, and yes, climate.
The flat-earth theory, despite what some NBA players will tell you, could not have been more wrong.
The Ptolemaic view of the solar system was replaced by the Copernican view, only to be superseded by Kepler and Newton’s observations which informed our modern understanding of how the solar system works.
Those who presume “science” to constitute an unassailable argument for any argument don’t really understand science at all.
They don’t consider the differences between a scientific theory and a scientific law.
Had astronomers simply accepted the first theory of the solar system as true, ceasing all further inquiry into the subject, the subsequent- and clearly superior- views of how the planets act would likely not have emerged, certainly not as rapidly.
Had the theory that earth is flat never been pursued further, who knows how long it would have taken us to seek out the pictorial evidence we now have showing that the earth is very much spherical.
Yet, that is exactly what the ardent defenders of climate change would propose we do. Accept their view and dash any further investigation into the matter.
I would say they are no different than the critics of Galileo and others that chose to challenge accepted theories, but in fact, they are worse.
Considering the wealth of information available with such ease of access, they should know better.
And, considering the political implications that science has taken on, skepticism of proposed theories and ideas should be at an all-time high. Somehow, the opposite seems to be true.
You may have considered that to maintain funding, scientists often must produce noteworthy results. This has led to the rampant manipulation of data and statistics, and understandably so. Scientists must feed their families, too.
Those who pay attention know this, and unfortunately, studies and data have become an unreliable metric in most instances. Those who choose to overlook this reality in the spirit of reinforcing their preconceived- and often incorrect- worldview are doing themselves and others a disservice.
Let’s examine climate change specifically.This premise is a tough one to refute: the earth’s climate changes. It has since its inception, as far as we can tell. The term “climate change” itself means nothing, which highlights the absurdity of phrases such as “climate change is bad” and the negative connotations the term has taken on.
First, it was global warming. Dr. Al Gore and his army of blind mice disciples then realized that even the cherry-picked data they relied upon would not show patterns of heating forever.
So, they essentially replaced that term with “climate change,” defined as “a long-term change in the Earth’s climate, or of a region of the earth.”
You mean, like an ice age? It would seem to fit into that broad definition.
As Richard Lindzen, a professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, explains, environmentalists “ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.”
I don’t know about you, but I trust the professor of Atmospheric Science over Al Gore. That’s just me.
Climate change does not even constitute a scientific theory. How could it, when an expert in the field at one of the premier universities in the world can so succinctly explain it away?
Speaking to those who swear by the idea of climate change, you would think it was accepted scientific law.
Shutting down debate and claiming the intellectual high ground is the opposite of how informed defenders of a scientific idea would act. Like Galileo, they would welcome debate, parrying criticism with facts and superior arguments.
Yet, those who dare refute the “science” of climate change supporters are ostracized as if they claimed the world was indeed flat.
To be clear, I personally believe that cars, industrialization, and the existence of humans themselves cannot produce anything but a net negative impact on the environment.
But don’t try to tell me this drought or that tsunami was caused directly by climate change as we understand it.
It cannot be proven, plain and simple.
The doomsday scenario and claims of direct and measurable consequences supported by causal evidence are simply not supported by the facts.
Climate change is still very much a fair topic of debate, but it is far from proven. Yet, even some of the smartest and most powerful people- Pope Francis, Bill Gates, Bill Nye the Science Guy- claim climate change as the most pressing issue of our time.
Forget the threat of terrorism. Economic ruin is of no concern. Cancer shmancer.
It is an unfounded, fluid “scientific” theory that most haunts them when they lay their head down on the pillow.
After all, it’s science, right?