Why is science so misunderstood?
It’s a great shame but recent events have exposed how poorly science is understood by many members of the public, including journalists. When it comes to science, people tend to like some of the things that result from it, particularly technology that makes their lives better. Some may also be fascinated by its ability to discover things at vast distances across the cosmos or penetrate the inner universe of the atom. On the other hand, there is also quite a high level of mistrust.
Part of this is due to the failure to come to terms with the scientific method. Whenever there is compelling evidence to support change, science moves forward by replacing each theory with a better one. For the public, this can translate into ‘they are always getting things wrong’ or ‘they are always changing their minds’!
In healthcare, this mistrust has an additional dimension. Rather than appreciate the great strides science has made in advancing medicine, some think that it’s solely about making money. At the extreme, this view is encapsulated by the anti-vaxxers and the conspiracy theorists, who seem to think Covid-19 is all about Bill Gates making an even bigger fortune! This would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.
Science is almost certainly the best means mankind has of understanding reality. In the relatively short time since The Science Revolution, it has transformed our view of almost everything. Its achievements have been amazing but it’s high time our understanding of what it is and how it works were transformed too!