“In this house, we believe science is real.”
— That Sign
Science is this job:
- Make an observation.
- Ask a relevant question.
- Form a hypothesis or testable explanation.
- Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
- Test the prediction.
- Have your test and its results peer-reviewed and replicated by other scientists.
- Confirm that those results are statistically meaningful and consistent
- Iterate (repeat): And use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.
This is the creation process for scientific facts. This process produces the “Proof” of science that we believe in, due to the rigorous method of science. This value only exists in results that have verifiably completed every step in this process.
A fact can only be a scientific fact if it owes its existence to the scientific method. Concerning every other subject on earth, science is objectively not even relevant. What science isn’t is an essential aspect of understanding what it is. Or you might say that concerning any other subject on earth… science doesn’t even exist because Science only exists in this process.
There are absolutely loads of facts that are meaningful, important, and objectively true but have no connection to science at all. There are crazy shit tons of facts that are beautiful, or scary, or somewhat but not completely true. There are another insane amount of facts that are subjective, personal, and anywhere from sort of to mostly untrue objectively.
Then there are ideas, so many millions of them, that generally rest on some awkward constellation of cherry-picked examples from any sort of combination of the proceeding facts, including the scientific ones. These cannot prove or disprove whatever the cherished idea is, they are there as character witnesses called to testify in the case. Their impact on the jury is generally emotional or an appeal to existing assumptions.
The only aspects of science that even call for belief are the method itself, and the unambiguous results (when present) of that applied method. But please remember that not all scientific facts are equal. Unambiguous, repeatable results are high-quality scientific truth, 5-star scientific facts, whereas ambiguous, hard to repeat results are low-quality knockoffs coasting on the reliability of high-quality results.
You should believe that science is real, where and when this process is complete. Including unambiguous and replicable. Any fact NOT born of the scientific method is not a scientific fact. And some facts that are scientific by following the method are nonetheless preliminary, inconclusive, and unreliable.
Everything else is either data, opinion, or speculation. There is nothing wrong with data, opinion, or speculation but none of these are conclusive and none are scientific.
So please remember this, if a scientist speaks of spirituality, mysticism, religion, the meaning of life, etc. They are officially just another shmoe like all the rest of us, with no more credentials than any of the rest of us, and they deserve no more trust or belief than anyone else does.
Scientists speculating beyond hard data they are well informed about are ethically wrong if they are asserting (even tacitly ) any scientific authority. They are abandoning the scientific method, violating the principles that make it meaningful, being dishonest, and committing a famous logical fallacy: The “Appeal to False Authority”.
This is no insult to science. We can properly celebrate the amazing power of science only by remembering its limits as well as its strengths. Remembering these limits renews the simple, solemn pact science has made to us. A promise to adhere to the very terms and conditions that it uses to define itself.