SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

In the field of science majority's opinion counts only when it matches with facts!

Science is the field where democracy means "rule by the scientists , of the scientific methodology and for everyone's welfare"!

(Yes, these are my words - Krishna)

Strictly adhere to it, if you are a person of science!

Why  am I saying this? It's because...

Recently a person posted a blog on an internet social networking site which deals with misconceptions on radiation hazards. When I read it I was shocked. Not only his views were based on old perceptions, myths and opinions, but were also completely biased and leaned towards industry people who funded the research. 

I brought this to the notice of the blogger and gave him references of new unbiased research in the field which prove his views completely wrong. Then what he said left me more distressed.

He said, "Thank you for the links on new research. First of all, my answer although old, suggests the research which has been accepted by majority of the people/organisation. A coin has two sides. So there will be opposition for every idea. You have to go by what "most" of the persons accept."

My reply to him: Oh, haven't you heard rules of science and what these things scientists say? 

“One cannot really argue with a mathematical theorem.” - Stephen Hawking

In questions of science, the authority of millions is not worth the humble reasoning based on facts of a single individual! - Galeili.

You said: You have to go by what "most"/ “ majority” of the persons accept.

In science 'majority's opinion doesn't count unless it agrees fully with facts.

Listen to what experts say and what your critical thinking says is right!

Majority can be laymen who don’t know anything about it who just follow others blindly. Majority can also consist people who listen to ‘funded and manipulated’ research because it is loud!

Don't write on science if you really don't know the facts. Your opinions don't count here. If they mislead people, like one of my scientist friends says, 'you are not even entitled to write on it and post it on public media and  cheat people of their right to know the right facts'. Science is not  a cooking recipe. Not everybody is entitled to write on it. It is a powerful weapon that can have severe consequences in the society we live in. So only experts have a right to write on it.

In science, there won’t be two sides unless the research is incomplete or funded by industry/political/religious lobbies - the two dark sides that can be easily avoided. There will be facts and people should stick to them. True scientists cannot tolerate cognitive dissonance ( science doesn't allow for the holding of two contradictory positions). They must choose the facts and stick to them.

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter disastrous beliefs that should have been abandoned long back. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse. Perhaps that’s one reason why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views “respected.” And do you respect ignorance, misconceptions and superstitions in the same way as facts based on evidence and true knowledge? How silly that looks!

What you say misconception is just your perception but need not be based on facts.

In democracies it is increasingly becoming difficult to stop anybody saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven by medical science (1). And anti-vaccinationists keep saying it over and over again to mislead people.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s a serious condition in science. Democracy doesn't work like that in this domain. You are entitled to have your opinions only if they don't harm the society you are living in. If you try to tell and mislead people that vaccination is a Government's conspiracy to sterilize you like Taliban does in Pakistan or spread rumours like vaccination causes autism like people of religion do in the US, that right should be taken away from you! Because you are refusing to see facts and causing the societies to collapse with your irresponsible behaviour.

Facts don’t need democracy. Facts need evidence based acceptance.

Moreover, in science recent research counts more. Old is not gold here! Only pseudo-science takes the help of old arguments. 

Citations:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1124634/

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