August 17, 2005

Science in jeapordy

One of the worst things you can do as an authority as play favorites with rule breakers. If Johnny nerd is late for class, he should get the same punishment as Jimmy football star does and vice versa. When you raise up favored classes who are not held to account the same way, you breed contempt across the entire system. If you do it long enough, the system will fail.

Science is undergoing exactly this sort of trouble. Health promotion experts play fast and loose with the rules and it's out and out tolerated by the scientific establishment. Compare and contrast with the debate over ID, abstinence education, and global warming skepticism where you have to be very careful to document and prove your every statement lest you ruin your career and even when you're credentialed and you're adhering to the method, the accusations of quackery still fly fast and furious.

The same passion and fire should erupt from the defenders of the scientific method wherever the scientific method is not adhered to either strictly or at all. Irrespective of the actual truth of any of these propositions in the real world, the gatekeepers of science do the field (and all of us) a grave disservice by playing favorites. Shame on them.

Posted by TMLutas at August 17, 2005 12:46 PM