Science Has a PR Problem Too

Experts don’t agree on the health benefits of tea. There’s the prevailing sentiment that green tea is good, especially at reducing the risk of heart disease. But there are plenty of researchers who have found differing results. One bit of research I saw actually shows that coffee is better for you than tea. Some have shown that cold tea can cause more heart disease and kidney stones, while many show that hot tea helps. Could the difference really be the temperature? I suppose it’s possible, but what else don’t we know?

Ultimately these sorts of contradictions pose a PR problem for science. Science, and the people who work on it, place a high value on their credibility. Validation is not easy to come by there.  In many instances scientists will go so far as to condescend to the irrational religious zealots, but in the spirit of “let he who is without sin throw the first stone” it must be acknowledged that the track record of science is far from perfect.

Add to it that science often disappoints. It gave us space travel, but…we don’t really travel in space. It gave us computers, but they are slow, get viruses, go obsolete, etc. It gave us cars, but now they’re telling us they warm the earth. It gave us inexhaustible nuclear energy, but….

Darwin himself wrote that if certain assertions he put forth were proven to be untrue then it would seriously call in to question his theory of evolution. Well, one can find exceptions to those assertions. Some are more or less open to interpretation, but even many of the harder core, anti-religion scientists do now admit that some of his theories aren’t as cut and dried as once believed.

The world we live in is so complex. So much about it is still beyond us. That leaves room for doubt and for questioning, which any scientist would normally say is a good thing. But it also leaves room for many of the beliefs associated with religion, which for some reason many scientists think is a bad thing, and this exacerbates the already existing PR problem.

The battle lines have been drawn and the war rages on.


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