Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Q: Is it proper for scientists to gag other people's opinions on some issues? Some scientists and science journals are doing this. In democracies all voices should be heard and we should allow people to decide what is right and what is wrong based on all view points. If I say my child is suffering because of vaccination-induced autism, I have my own experience to rely on. I cannot accept scientists' view that vaccination doesn't cause autism because in my child's case , it did! When I say this, some people belonging to scientific community are trying to silence me.
Krishna: Right. I know which journals you are talking about. I also know who you are referring to.
But democracy has a different meaning in science.
There is lots of misinformation going on the social media. If you trust that information, because you are not trained in science and has no idea or knowledge about vaccines, and cannot analyse and pick what is right and what is wrong from the information available to you, and because of your emotional status with regard to your child's condition, your mind refuses to see the right picture and imagine what some anti-vaxxers say is right and try to spread that wrong perception to others and cause harm to the others around - like killing people - yes, if children cannot be vaccinated, they die of preventable diseases - should scientists who have full knowledge about the subject and can understand the full picture correctly keep quiet?
Should we allow democratic rights of some people kill others around?
Under normal conditions - where knowledge rules, where emotions are in check, where real knowledge guides people, where genuine evidence is considered without any hesitation, we can allow democracy to work. In such conditions people prosper.
But under extra-ordinary situations, like in your case, where anecdotal evidence that doesn't have any base is trying to rule the world, where misconceptions are trying to lead, where fear - not understanding - takes over human societies, where ignorance that harms the societies we live in is given more importance than knowledge that protects people, dictatorship and censorship becomes unavoidable to save the lives our children.
Anarchy demands gagging of false information.
Tell me, what do you know about vaccines to say that they cause autism? I can show you hundreds of genuine scientific papers that say they don't! I can give you trust-worthy evidence. All experts can accept mine.
Your opinion doesn't stand a chance before them.
But ordinary people who don't know the difference between genuine scientific evidence and opinion might get mislead when you emotionally appeal to them.
The situation is like this: Two children are fighting for a piece of cake. The elder one already ate his and is trying to snatch his younger brother's piece by crying and screaming that it is his. Outsiders who don't know what the truth is cannot decide who is right and who is not and the elder one's crying might influence their understanding of the situation. The mother, who knows the truth because she saw her elder son eating his, might beat her elder son for creating a drama to snatch the cake piece and snatch it from him and give it to her younger son. Democratic rights of the elder son has no meaning here. Only justice should prevail.
Likewise, your democratic rights of speaking nonsense and spreading false information about vaccines should be snatched away from you to protect innocent children. Scientists are behaving like a mother, who has only the welfare of her children in her mind, here.
Science is the field where democracy means "rule by the scientists , of the scientific method and methodology and for everyone's welfare"! - Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa
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.
Scientific method, I repeat, only genuine scientific method, should rule the world of science. Everything else belongs to trash can here.