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Yes, you can. Science encourages a healthy debate. Scientists need to be challenged continuously by different viewpoints so they can integrate them into the development of knowledge and technologies.

Science considers everything brought before it. But to convince science it takes a lot more than mere words and emotional arguments. Just opinions don't count in science. It demands data proof. If you provide one it gives lot of ground to your theory and argument. In that way science is not rigid. Usually scientific theories are challenged by the people in the field of science themselves if they find inadequate proof or new data not supporting the earlier ones. This challenge by experts in the field is important for science to progress in a systematic way.

However, in recent times, science is being challenged not only by scientists , but also by religious fundamentalists,  devout religious followers ( Ref 1), industry, people in politics, some educationists, activists and other vested interests who don't have any knowledge regarding science and by using dubious methods. This, I feel, is a dangerous trend.

Anybody can challenge the big 'S' but using only scientific methods. When asked to do this people are cooking up data, making strange claims and propagating pseudo-science. Even people of science are falling prey to these pseudo-scientific methods.

The problem is not that science is being challenged, it is what it is being challenged with. And of course how it is challenged. If logical questions are being posed, it is appropriate. If the challenge comes from restating ancient faith-based fables it is not appropriate, both from a scientific and separation-of-religion-and-state perspective. Controversy and the various arguments for and against should be debated in a healthy atmosphere. To push religious, commercial and political agendas in order to dumb down people who might otherwise benefit from proper science training is deplorable and should be condemned as this makes people hopelessly out of touch with reality. This kind of backward progress is what brought about the crusades and the dark ages that followed. It might help those who want to exploit the public with their agendas. Science being challenged by scientists is the essence of science. Science being challenged by public school teachers with an agenda, by people with biased views, by people who follow religion fearing that science might dislodge age old dogmas, by industrialists who fear that they might not be able to proceed with their polluting ways, by polititians who play vote bank politics to win elections  is the essence of stupidity.

You can find how science is being questioned in a  scientific way when you click on ref 2.

If the challenge  only permits to help people understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught and to encourage them to respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues which include evolution, global warming, etc., so as to develop critical thinking skills, science embraces such a healthy debate.

The heart of science is skepticism.  No, of course you should not accept any part of science on faith!  On the other hand, it takes a great deal of work to convince yourself that some "law" of science is true or not if you are a layman, so in the meantime, accepting the opinions of the "experts" is a reasonable fall-back.  The trick, of course, is to pick the right experts.

While doing this, when faced with facts they dislike, some human beings insists on killing the messenger and denouncing his message out of hand. This hatred towards science is not a healthy trend.

Science should be challenged only by scientific means and in a scientific way. If everybody tries to propagate his or her theory by challenging science, there will be utter chaos like we are now seeing in the Western countries.  A  line should be  drawn and if anybody crosses that line, they need to be put back in place or chaos will prevail and future generations  will turn into  morons and idiots without proper scientific knowledge.

There is no Wizard in Oz... and ... no ghosts... no angels...no devil or demons. There is an awe-inspiring and humbling Cosmos from whence we all came...go back... and we best start enlightening ourselves and our children to the World of Reality, based on science and reason, not the deceit of baseless beliefs and opinions!

"There is a principal which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot keep a man (woman or child) in everlasting ignorance ------ that principal is contempt prior to investigation" -  Herbert Spencer

There is a saying here: You can do all the impossible things in the world except convincing an irrational mind.
Yes, ask science questions but the ones that make at least some sense.
Challenge, but only rationally.
Search, but only in the right places.  

Criticize, but only in an unbiased way. 

Biased analysis leads to destructive criticisms. Unbiased assay leads to  constructive ones. Science welcomes the latter with an open mind. Need I say it doesn't even consider the first one?

References:

Ref. 1: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/law-allows-creationism-to-be...

2. http://tucsoncitizen.com/usa-today-news/2014/01/19/science-question...

 

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Replies to This Discussion

Scientists should consider this: "because they are wrong, it follows that we must be right". But it doesn't work like that. Just because all the anti-science crazies are wrong, it does not follow that you are right. You could be flat out wrong too.

Scientists should abandon "herd thinking" too. Time to get off your high horse, and try to be a bit more humble. There is no 100% certainty in science.

Question science, and it may surprise you with what it has discovered!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterlipson/2013/04/23/scientists-shoul...
Scientists Should Embrace Criticism
Doubt isn’t a weapon to be used until it slaughters all creative thoughts. It is a tool to help us avoid the very human instinct to believe what appears to be true, and what we wish to be true. Scientists, most of all, should know this.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/popular-science-website-s...
Popular Science website shuts down comments!
Why?
Because: Comment trolls have already been scientifically proven to be ruining science.
TROLLS be warned. You're ruining science. And science is proving it. ( http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/internet-trolls-are-ruini... )
Researchers from the University of Wisconson-Madison analysed comments on blogs about nanotechnology – manipulating matter at an atomic and molecular level.

Nanotechnology has already been used to create more than 1300 consumer products. But the study found that name-calling in otherwise balanced reporting skewed the perceptions of the risks posed by fiddling on a molecular scale.

That translates into a danger of trolls being able to alter public perception of all sciences, researchers say.

"The internet has the potential to foster discussion and deliberation among far-reaching audiences in spaces such as the comments section of news items and blog posts," the study reads.

"However, such discussions are not always rational."

The study found that people who read snarky comments on blog posts were prone to mistaking their opinion for fact.

The scientific knowledge of more than 2300 participants was first tested, including their familiarity with nanotechnology. They were also asked to reveal where they received most of their news, (i.e newspapers, internet or television).

Then they read a blog post from a Canadian newspaper that talked about the risks and benefits of nanotechnology.

Each user received a blog post with user comments manipulated to contain positive or negative sentiment, such as: "If you don't see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these products, you're an idiot."

Some comments made the opposite argument using polite language and acknowledging other users by names instead of expletives.

The test subjects then completed a survey about the blog, its comments and their opinion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology.

Those participants exposed to the trolls were found to be less supportive of nanotechnology.

The researchers also found that people who received most of their news via the internet were, unsurprisingly, less likely to support nanotechnology research. Those who read the newspaper were found to be more supportive.

Television was not found to have an impact either way.

Age and gender were also found to be influential factors. The older the subject, the less likely they were to be supportive of nanotechnology. Women were also found to have stronger risk perceptions.

"The interaction block….showed that online incivility does indeed have a polarising effect on attitudes when considering certain predispositions," the study read.

And if you still think you're too smart to take any notice of trolls, think again.

Having a detailed knowledge of nanotechnology did not seem to have a significant effect on how your perception changed once you started reading the comments.

"It seems we don't really have a clear social norm about what is expected online," UW-Madison science communication researcher Dominique Brossard said.

"In the case of blog postings, it's the Wild West."

Internet trolls, you're ruining science for everyone.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/popular-science-website-s...
A recent study by the University of Wisconsin had more than 1000 participants read a fake blog post and the comments underneath it. They were then asked to answer survey questions about how they felt on the subject. The researchers found that “uncivil comments not only polarised readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself”.

Another study found that even just “firmly worded (but not uncivil) disagreements between commenters impacted readers’ perceptions of science”.

Popular Science says that there has been a politically motivated decade long war on science ranging from topics of climate change to evolution.

“Comments can be bad for science,” LaBarre wrote.

“Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.”

The site will still keep its Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest accounts.

While some select stories will still be open for comments but only ones that “lend themselves to vigorous and intellectual discussion”.

“Don’t do it for us,” LaBarre wrote. “Do it for science”.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/
Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-determine-the-scie...

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