For me, science is a core of my being. However several things seem to be combining to give Science quite a negative regard in the eyes of the general public. I will try my best to form my thoughts into two examples:
Example #1 – The rush to “publish” in favor of truly doing solid science. I am lucky to be able to converse with friends who work at large laboratories, and national laboratories. The clear feeling they convey is that the “scientists” are quite (quite very) less focused on performing the experiment comprehensively, but are instead driven (by the “game” and by the metric against which they are measured) to publish the paper. Stories are heard where there is so much focus to publish, that colleague-suggestions to improve an aspect of the experiment or to corroboratively verify an aspect of the result is ignored (“I can’t do the experiment again because I need to get this paper out”). Of course, every now and then we all hear in the News of scientific results either being retracted, incorrect or even un-true. One perspective: Today, Science is all about publishing, not about discovering fundamental truth.
Example #2 – The absolutely terrible way that popular media conveys absolute falsehoods and twisted themes in favor of receiving the click. This is also key, because the popular media is a big factor in shaping the opinion of a large populous. Just today (and the impetus for me posting to TMRO) I saw this headline on Business Insider; “Japanese rovers just transmitted the first photos from an asteroid 3 light-years away”, published at the link: www.businessinsider.com/two-rovers-just-sent-photos-of-an-asteroid-3-light-years-away-2018-9 (and a quick News search shows me that other “News” sites have picked it up and ran it). The regular person might not “get it”. You and I surely do. Due to media forces (or increasingly incompetent journalism), the general population seems to be becoming dumbed-down about science themes, and can not tell the difference between fact and falsehood.
Wheww… very sorry for the too-long post. But these two example-dustballs have been bouncing around inside my head for a while, and it feels nice to shake them out into this forum.
Hey! And yes, this could be a possible topic for TMRO:Science; a roundtable discussion on the true state of Science, the metrics used, the negative outcomes, and ideas on how to improve.