Trust the science?

Trust the scientists?

Trust {the |}scien{ce|tists}!

Ahh. That’s safe.

Wait, what science? Or which scientists?

The majority? Who did the counting? How do I trust the people who tell me what the majority is? Does the majority include scientists who are experts in the wrong topic?

What if everything the biologists say is true - but they’re not experts in how their field interacts with economics, social science, law, or policy?

It’s very frustrating to have knowledge that could make an impact on the world, yet not be listened to.

Yet, at the same time, we experts need to recognize the difficulties faced by others in determining who to trust. If you yourself are not an expert, how do you know who the experts are? Having a degree is not a perfect sign - that requires trust in the institution that granted the degree. Agreeing with the majority of others who have a degree isn’t enough - that requires faith that there is no systematic bias in our institutions.

It doesn’t help to call people anti-science because they don’t trust your personal scientific interpretations. Their skepticism is potentially very scientific - their personal experiences of the world lead them to question what they’re told to blindly believe, and they want evidence!

If we’re frustrated at the fact that people don’t trust us, we have only ourselves to blame. We need to make individual connections with people. We need to be out in the community earning trust for ourselves, not relying on our associations with institutions.

I haven’t done a good job with this at all, for a while. Some day, I will have the energy to begin again.

Note: I wrote most of this on July 27, 2023, and then apparently got distracted and forgot about it. So I just finished it up almost a year later. Not 100% sure I went in the direction I originally intended - but I didn’t disagree with anything I had written then…