Thursday, November 11, 2004
The point is simple: science is not easily reduced to a binary situation of right or wrong. There are a million sides to everything, and there are well established rules that guide how research is judged. Most journalists (and virtually all readers, at least in the US) know very little about the Scientific Method, or Peer Review, etc., and audiences are often not too interested in complex ideas.
There are plenty of examples where the scientific consensus is wrong, and the rogues are right, but determining that is the work of scientists, not journalists. It may take a while for the old guard to change, but that's the beauty of the Scientific Method: change is the whole point! You can never fully "prove" anything, you can only not disprove it. It's this subtlety that drives many non-scientists crazy, and leads to widespread misunderstanding of words like "Theory" and "Law" in the scientific sense, as opposed to the common ones.