BFF | Science says...
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, inserting “science says …” in their ‘lyrics’ has been a popular way for politicians, managers, but also self-proclaimed experts to enhance the gravity of their opinions. It reminds me of my mother’s and teachers’ attempts to raise me Catholic. Trying to coerce me in accepting fallacies, they would insert the phrase “the church says …."
Different from religion, science does not impose dogmas. Science is not an ideology or a philosophy of life, it doesn’t speak, it merely is a method to acquire and understand knowledge in an unbiased fashion. Critical to the scientific method is that hypotheses that underlie certain theories can always be challenged, also during a pandemic.
Constructive and regular criticism that doesn’t invalidate a hypothesis only makes the likelihood for a possible theory stronger. After standing the test of time and criticism, a hypothesis becomes a theory. That’s exactly the reason we talk about Charles Darwin’s evolution theory, not evolution hypothesis.
Put differently, scientific consensus can only be reached by challenging hypotheses and by being critical of scientific premises. This is exactly what the scientific method entails. Complying to commandments is not scientific. It does not imply that folks who are hypercritical and therefore pursue all kinds of conspiracy theories are scientific.
But it does mean that our community should not fall into the trap of dogmatism when responding to criticism. Or even worse, to call for censorship. Censorship is unscientific and a sign of weakness. A lot of mistakes were made in the past three years. Mistakes from which we can learn valuable lessons using the scientific method.
BFF | Bald, Frizzy or Flowing is a joint initiative of Willem Mulder (Bald), Monique Bruining (Frizzy) and Luc Brunsveld (Flowing), that they started at the beginning of 2023 on the site of Cursor.