Can you trust scientists?

By Kevin Roche

The sudden reversal of opinion on whether or not CV-19 might have been created in and escaped from a Chinese lab should be a stark warning to us that at least in the US, you can’t trust scientists, as they have become political and ideological tools, all too willingly in most cases.  Science is a process, a search for understanding of how the world works.  It never assumes the final answer has been found, it is always open to new hypotheses and new data.  A good scientist would above all else be scrupulous in understanding human cognitive and emotional biases and extremely self-aware about how those biases may affect their own work.  They would avoid any political or ideological or other involvement which may raise suspicions about the quality of their work.  Scientists should insist on replication of results before research findings are acted upon, as a check upon the conscious or unconscious impact of biases.

photo by Luis Molinero

Instead, today we have so-called scientists who openly parade and brag about their ideological orientation and who openly suggest that research should be slanted to produce results that support policies they believe in.  We see this in every field of science, particularly any social science, medicine and climate research.  So we really can’t be surprised that supposed infectious disease and other experts who hated the last President refused to take seriously the possibility that CV-19 was human created and treated the assertion that it might have been as racism and xenophobia.  I don’t know if it was or wasn’t, but we do know that China will never be truthful and forthcoming about where CV-19 came from.

Unfortunately you can’t trust scientists or science

We depend on scientists to develop knowledge that improves our lives.  We can’t trust today’s scientists at all.  They have no ethics.  The solution is laws that mandate that any person entering a scientific profession take courses and yearly training throughout their careers on cognitive and emotional biases and the necessity of avoiding any activity that might prejudice research outcomes.  No research should be used for any policy or government action purpose unless the researchers have completely disclosed all activities and affiliations that might affect the neutrality of their work.  Any research used for such policy or government action must be replicated.  And peer review of research needs to be completely overhauled and made more transparent.  Today it has become just another tool to force ideological conformity and rigidity among scientists.

I have enjoyed and revered science my entire life; its perversion is a devastating tragedy which should be rectified as soon as possible.  In the meantime, unfortunately you can’t trust scientists or science.