If there is one thing this course has taught me in the mere four weeks we’ve been in session, it is to question EVERYTHING. It’s strange because I used to believe that the only thing real in this world was science.
During the summer, John Oliver did a segment on his show Last Week Tonight about scientific studies where he addressed their all-too-common faultiness. I wasn’t that shocked to hear that Kathy Lee and Hoda saying that drinking wine is better than going to the gym was false, but I was shocked by the lack of accuracy necessary to publish results for a study. This is obviously dangerous because human beings are typically insanely gullible. If you tell them something, and then attach “study” to it, a large percentage will believe it.
Then I come across a story on The New Yorker’s website about the mistrust in the science field. It is a commencement address at the California Institute of Technology in June given by Atul Gawande.
The first part of the speech reminded me of a lecture in Andrew’s class. He discussed what it means to be a scientist, even claiming that we can all be scientists if we adjust the way that we think.
He also touched on how science is a community that has no room for egos. Egos prevent interaction in a field that needs community for any legitimate advance to take place. Gawande notes the influence of education in challenging the trust of science. Education can introduce people to science but it can then also mislead those people into thinking that they have a position to say what it right and what is not right. My brain is getting very confused and I think maybe now I might be doing what this very article says is the problem.
This speech outlines even more so to me the caution we must take when approaching everything. “You can believe everything you hear” now pertains to a lot more areas that I thought it did. I know read The New Yorker, what I consider to be a reputable news source, and I now wonder. But perhaps that’s the point, though. To question everything, while also you may never have the answer to anything.