How science (doesn’t) work

Todd Hayen has written an article in on (supposedly) “Knowing All that We Need to Know“.


There is really nothing new to learn, and what we cannot explain, we will relegate to “promissory materialism”—a term invented to say that if we can’t explain now through material means, one day we will be able to—we now know the building blocks of reality, nothing is a true mystery.

Now, not all scientists are so arrogant to believe this. Some just while away in their labs with their theories, their experiments, and their reliance on the “scientific method” to prove or disprove their hypotheses. These are the true scientists. But they too have their traumas, which are always trying to get the best of them. They are constantly attacked in academia by other scientists trying to prove they are wrong—thus go the wars of falsification, a constant in the world of academic science—a necessary constant.

But this relentless battle can have its deleterious effect on those engaged in it. Trauma is trauma, and it all has negative effect in some way. These scientists get hardened, and often are unwilling to let go of treasured beliefs. They fight hard for what they hold to be truth about the mechanisms of the natural world, and the longer they hold a truth, the more difficult it becomes to pull it down from its exalted pedestal.

God forbid, then, politicians get involved. Any person of authority will grab any sort of scientific “idea” (which they will call truth) that supports their agenda, and they will run with it. They will do whatever they can to support the false idea that the “science is set” and that any contrary idea is thrown in the waste bin by vilifying the notion, the purveyor of the notion, or censoring the contrary idea altogether. “We know everything!” They spout out. “It is all figured out, follow the science!”

I would suspect that a lot of real scientists that hear this sort of thing rub their chin and say, “well, that isn’t exactly right . . .” but they want to keep their jobs at the lab, or their tenured position at the university, or their stature among their peers and instead mutter, “yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket.” Some of them are probably even unconscious that is what they are doing.