I love this post, not just because it defends the scientific project, but because it acknowledges that science screws up. Science screws up all the time. It’s a product of a society swimming in misconceptions and marginalisations. ‘Science’- bad science- has excused and justified some of the most godawful things. But the beautiful thing about science is that it contains within itself its own redemption. Science is self-correcting. Science thrives on rigorous testing of ideas and in its own imperfect, meandering way inches closer to truth. I think that the scientific method and its myriad interpretations and refinements is one of the most profound and meaningful achievements of our species.

Passive Impressions

Jet Trails over Canberra-1

And yet, planes fly.

This is a phrase that often comes to mind when people question the value and utility of science, or diminish its importance in the world today.

It cuts through the objections: that science can be biased, or imperfect, or financially driven, or chaotic, or fraudulent, or philosophically unsound, or just one idea among many.

Sometimes, these criticisms are valid. There are many instances where science has been hampered by fraudulent and unethical behaviour, where scientists have taken appalling short cuts and or adjusted data because it didn’t fit preconceived notions, where bullying and a dogmatic over-reliance on unsound theories has hampered progress. You could write a book on it.

And yet, planes fly.

Big ones too. Gigantic 300 tonne planes, travelling at 900 kilometres per hour, at 40,000 feet above the ground. Right now, a few of them are routinely ploughing their way through the stratosphere en…

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