To the Journal editor:
I am responding to the March 2 letter to the editor from Paul Grobar in order to offer a different view of science.
There are 4 wonderful things about science:
1.) The scientific method provides a consistent way to develop and test hypotheses such that the most fit hypothesis prevails by way of evidence.
2.) All scientific research is generally peer-reviewed before it is published, so there is no one person or entity putting out unquestioned, unexamined information as being above reproach.
3.) Anyone can independently perform research using the scientific method for the purpose of verifying, or debunking, the results of research performed by others.
4.) Scientific training and knowledge enables individuals to think and analyze independently based on observable facts and evidence.
Science is an endeavor of humans. Humans are imperfect. As such, one can expect the field of science to have imperfections. Some scientists can be just as egotistical, bull headed, closed-minded, stubborn and dogmatic as any believer creationism and intelligent design.
One who invests a lifetime investigating, researching, publishing, perhaps gaining some notoriety may have a hard time accepting a discovery which essentially nullifies their life’s research. Scientific theories and individuals can achieve a popularity that is difficult to challenge without being chastised.
This can result in some scientific endeavors going off in the wrong direction for a long time. Fortunately the 4 items listed above eventually get science back on correct track.
For example, after years spent studying western Washington’s channeled scablands, geologist J. Harlan Bretz theorized that this land had been scoured by a catastrophic flood. Fellow geologists of the anti-catastrophism school of thought publically discredited Bretz.
Years later, technological advancements and further research by others proved Bretz to be correct . His theory is now accepted in the geological community. It is now accepted that the “equilibrium” of generally slow geological processes can be “punctuated” by catastrophic events.
Scientific study of the evolution of the earth and humans takes decades to find the answers, much longer than the 7 days of Genesis. Scientists and science have come a long way in discovering the 4 billion year history of how our spherical earth was formed and the 200,000 year history of humans evolution.
Scientists don’t know everything, they make mistakes, but at least the results of their work is always open to review and questioning by others.
Belief in science is evidence based, not faith based. I’ll be proud to be a monkey’s great great great uncle until it is proven wrong scientifically.