The Whole Point of Science is Skepticism, Not Blind Trust.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Ever since the whole Covid-19 pandemic thing started in 2020, I’ve heard many people online stating, or rather shouting, “Trust the science!” when there’s anyone questioning whether lockdowns or masks are the most effective methods of controlling the spread of the virus. Don’t get me wrong- “Trust the science!” isn’t a new phenomenon; it’s been a big thing the past few years when dealing with flat earthers or anti-vaxxers. But this quote has been practically everywhere during 2020, and it makes me wonder whether or not the people saying “Trust the science!” even know exactly what they mean.

I remember back in elementary and middle school when I learned about the scientific method in science class. If you don’t know what the scientific method is, I would ask what you’re even doing here, but that’ll be mean of me, so I’ll just give you the basics of it.

Steps of the Scientific Method

01: Ask a question

02: Do some background research

03: Come up with a hypothesis

04: Test something with an experiment. You should repeat this step a few times just in case.

05: Did the experiment work? If no, go back to coming up with a different hypothesis, If yes, then…

06: Analyze the data you’ve seen and come up with a conclusion.

07: Share results.

Sounds simple, right? So what’s happened? Why do so many people only follow steps, one, three, and seven nowadays? Whatever happened to experimenting and analyzing the data? Why won’t we admit we’re wrong when the data goes against our hypothesis? Why do we treat our hypothesis as if it’s an official fact? And why do we have to blindly trust science if we’re just going to treat the hypothesis as an undisputed fact?! What’s even the point of science if we’re not allowed to question or test it over and over again to see if it’s still true?!

In fact, when did blindly trusting the science become such a popular thing to people who claim to love science? Do most of these people not know what the point of science is? The whole point of science isn’t to blindly trust it, it’s to question it! The whole reason why science exists in the first place is because we’re skeptical human beings who want to see how things work!

The whole point of science is skepticism, not blind trust!

This is why the scientific method exists! How did we, in a society that is now more based on science than ever, forget about this?! When people say, “Trust the science!”, what science are they talking about? Biology? Physics? Botany? Ecology? Microbiology? Zoology? Astronomy? Geology? Chemistry? There are several types of sciences, and they’re all vast in their own information. Even with the sciences I’ve listed above, there are still subcategories of sciences as examples of said sciences. You can’t just focus on one type of science and just call it “the science”. Just like how there are different types of people in the world, there are also different types of sciences in the world, and they all connect together to make our world function.

There’s also the question of how long ago “the science” was and where the results came from. For example, let’s say that MMR vaccines do cause autism. Okay, where did this information come from- 1998 by some guy named Andrew Wakefield? Okay, let’s see if we can reproduce those same results saying that MMR vaccines cause autism. What’s that? Nobody could find the same results as Wakefield did? That’s strange, I thought we were supposed to trust the science.

Let’s focus on a different example- homosexuality being a mental illness. You can’t go wrong with some good old science that’s been proven decades ago, can you? And you can especially trust the American Psychiatric Association since they classified it as a mental illness in 1952, and they’re a respected, professional organization, so you can trust these guys, right? Wait a minute, the National Institute of Mental Health scrutinized these guys for listing homosexuality as a mental illness in the DSM-1, and they’re also a respected, professional association. It turns out homosexuality isn’t a mental illness but rather a sexual orientation and a healthy and positive expression of human sexuality. And the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM-3 and called for other mental health professionals to not classify homosexuality as a mental illness. Hmm, I’m starting to sense a pattern here…

Let’s talk about another topic- how about genetics and humans, particularly twins? A very smart doctor named Josef Mengele did a study on that during World War Two, so let’s see what he had to say during his studies. He was trying to prove how much stronger heredity was compared to environment. He even followed the scientific method used above, so that should prove something, right? Oh… oh dear, it turns out this Mengele guy was a member of the German Nazi party during World War Two, and his experiments had no concerns for safety or ethics- two very important things when it comes to science experiments. And those twins studies were only done to strengthen the Nazi party so that Aryan parents would have Aryan twins. Not only that, but some of the twins involved in his experiments were amputated, infected with typhus, and had each other’s bloods transfused into each other. One set of Romani twins were sewn together to form conjoined twins; they both died of gangrene several days later. In fact, if one twin died, the other would be killed for a post-mortem comparison. He even killed fourteen twins in one night by injecting their hearts with chloroform!

For people with heterochromia, he would inject chemicals in their eyes while they were alive and kill them to remove said eyes to be sent to Berlin. Dwarfs and people with other forms of physical abnormalities weren’t excluded from Mengele’s studies either. They had their blood drawn, their healthy teeth extracted, and had treatments using unnecessary drugs and X-rays only to be dispatched to the gas chamber after around two weeks. Hearts, stomachs, and kidneys were removed, all without anesthesia, and those who survived were forced to return to the labor camps without any painkillers.

It’s almost as if these sciences listed above were considered not just wrong, but dangerous and extremely unethical. Imagine that- what was once considered the ultimate truth by all these respected organizations because of “the science” was later proven to be false by another form of science. If we had just accepted these unethical and bigoted claims as undeniable truths, then who knows how much irreversible harm we would’ve done before we eventually find out the truth! Remember when doctors would recommend “healthy” cigarettes? Or when the father of psychoanalysis himself Sigmund Freud took small doses of cocaine regularly to treat depression and indigestion and recommended the drug to his associates? How about when cocaine was considered a “wonder drug” when used as an anesthetic for delicate eye surgery? Remember when Coca-Cola had actual cocaine in their drinks? Now that we know all the negative side effects of cocaine and the addiction surrounding it, imagine what would happen if we were still using cocaine and other drugs like cigarettes and considering them healthy. Not good now, isn’t it?

Much like the world around us, science is constantly changing, so it’s natural to question exactly what is the right scientific answer or not. For example, is milk good or bad for us? It really depends on the benefits and risks and what you think is best for you. You have to question that stuff for yourself. That’s the whole beauty of science! If we lived in a world where we weren’t allowed to question the science that was shown to us, then we aren’t really following the science, we’re following a cult. It’s okay to be interested in science and to have some faith in it like someone who follows a religion, but don’t take your love for science to an extreme level of blind trust like a member of scientology would do with their cult. Remember- the whole point of science is skepticism, not blind trust!

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Emily Alexandra

Emily Alexandra

Just some autistic person wanting to write and write. I also like to draw and have a cat and dog that are my life. I publish on 8th, 18th, and 28th every month.