From Science to Scientism: How TRUSTING THE SCIENCE makes science OBSOLETE.

Scientism : excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.

“Trust the Science”

This is a dangerous statement. When science can no longer be questioned, it is no longer science. It instead becomes belief, doctrine, or religion.

Curiosity fuels scientific discovery, questioning is an essential part to science and the scientific process. Science is the process of learning, it is a method of continuously finding faults in our findings. It is not simple, clear, or straightforward; but neither is the natural world.

If great minds did not question authority, humanity would still be subjected to religious dogma that the Earth is the center of our universe.

Science turns to scientism when we are forced to accept evidence as fact without analyzing the data or source of the information; this becomes a danger to the foundation of science and to humanity’s push forward for unbiased answers.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence."

Dangers to Science

Studies funded for corporate interest and research derived from a profit driven agenda’s should be heavily scrutinized.

To demonstrate the dangers of industry funded research we’ll look at one study from the 1960’s in which the sugar industry downplayed the risk of added sugars.

The project funded through the “Sugar Research Group” sponsored testing by Harvard scientists that would refute concerns about sugar and its possible link to Heart Disease.

The results, that instead of sugar it was fat to blame, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967 which never disclosed the specialized interest or funding. 

The sugar industry proceeded with a lengthy marketing campaign on “low fat” food alternatives to promote the new findings and increase their overall profits.  

As we see with the story above, greed can often be a factor for scientific findings. There is, unfortunately, no shortage of stories where scientists willing abandon their own moralities to biasedly back interest groups with inaccurate or skewed data. 

Another example is Presidential Elections. 

For the 2020 elections, the same journal which published the Sugar Research Groups study of 1967 stepped forward with their own political endorsement. In another, several groups of scientists, including one group of eighty-one Nobel Laureates, pushed forward their political endorsements with an open letter to all American citizens.

Publishing scientific content has become a billion dollar business. One of the world’s largest publishers of academic journals made headlines in 2019 when the University of California cancelled their $11 million annual membership.

The monopolist Elsevier owns around 3,000 academic outlets and accounts for ~20% of the worlds research output. In 2018, Elseviers revenue grew to a total of $3.2 billion. Through Elsevier, the cost of a single research paper is $30, individual subscriptions set users back thousands of dollars annually, and Canadian libraries pay more than $300 million each year for their subscriptions to these research journals; including papers generated by their own professors.

Meanwhile, the content generated by scientists are provided to the publishers for free. It works this way, says Kelly Crowe with CBC News, Publicly funded scientists do the research, write the papers and act as peer reviewers for their colleagues’ work without remuneration from publishing companies.

Questionable Sources

Industry and interest funded research is a common phenomenon and while some publications offer funding information we can not expect the same to be shared through media outlets who also publicly and privately back large, profit driven businesses. 

It is important to question media outlet ethics and their protocols behind releasing academic information. 

Government agencies and political parties are not exempt or impeachable against funded research either, so it is imperative to investigate their motives as well. 

Seeking Unbiased Truths

We should never blindly accept information given to us whether it be through a friend, scientist, media outlet, government body, or corporation.

All ideas and discoveries must be continuously questioned to find hidden truths. If science is able to stand up to the scrutiny, it has secured its place as a scientific discovery. Believing science is always right, makes you (and science) wrong.

“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”

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