Is science never right?

Is it true, as said, that ‘science is never right’?† Then is there something that goes beyond the fact of the ‘scientific facts’, calling into question their propriety, which might also call into question scientific findings in fields of study ranging from medicine and psychology to economics and climatology? Does it mean that there is more to knowledge and discovery than science can offer and that our scientific methodologies have their limits? Or does it mean that science is above reproach – because it has already taken account of its fallibilities and has dispensed with belief, especially the dogma of believing totally in itself? Might this allow scientific opinion to form the bedrock of opinion about matters touching upon explanations of fact, including the nature of existence; therefore we can be assured that non-scientific opinions are inferior – for what can those opinions amount to if even the rational sciences can’t profess to being absolutely right – ever? But is it possible that there is more to the universe than its scientific firmament, and who is qualified to say? Who is the impartial questioner of the facts? – not science, if science deems that those questions can be valid only when they are framed scientifically. 

If physicists are ‘never right’‡ then does it mean that governments are being approached to fund scientific projects on false pretexts, with promises of results that cannot be trusted? Does it mean that the famous Higgs boson is not necessarily real just because physicists say it is, or that it may be when they believe otherwise – because the evidence to contradict or redefine their findings is always round the corner? Are scientists claiming that the evidence tells them what to think, when it is their thinking that directs their attention to ‘the evidence’ and its selection? How important is the weight of evidence if it stands to be overturned by facts that hitherto weighed lightly in the minds of scientists? Perhaps explanation is but a technical way of expressing theories loaded with meanings that cannot be finalised – meanwhile discovery involves something more than a factual retrieval exercise. Perhaps it means that the real world is bigger than science and that science remains as it was at the outset – a methodological philosophy of nature. Perhaps ‘nature’, so called, amounts to a theory about something that is bigger than our grandest ideas about what it is – including the idea that it is a thing in existence definable by advantage of its observation.
Mike Laidler

† Interview with the scientist Brian Cox on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 16 June 2016. (Vide: ‘The science paradox’.)
‡ Per Professor Brian Cox speaking on ‘Start the Week’, BBC Radio 4, 19 December 2016. 

Advertisements

One thought on “Is science never right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s