Why We Need Science
One of the definitions of science in Dictionary.com is “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”. In other words, scientists do not just go with their gut when they draw a conclusion, they have gathered all kinds of data to come up with that conclusion. Now the conclusion may be faulty, no doubt, but over time more and more people test it often coming up with a completely different conclusion. So how about some data about why we need science?
Business Depends on Good Information
Often things are not what they appear, and making decisions that affect your company cannot be done by the seat of your pants. You might say your product is the best, but what do your customers say? The scientific method is often used to determine the truth, at least in as much as the truth is knowable. Customer research is gathering data from the real world, and conclusions are made from this data. We try to eliminate bias, we try not to make evaluation mistakes, we try to come up with solid data and solid conclusions. Many times this leads to changes: Product packaging, advertisements, marketing methods, and or formulations.
Without critical thinking or the scientific method, you can only make a guess as to what is wrong. With the right information, you can quickly make the right changes that seem almost magical.
Why We Need Science: Is Science a Religion?
Many people get bent out of shape when science seems to contradict religion. But all science is trying to do is to explain things. Science makes hypothesis, theory, and conclusion based on the data they can come up with. All the data can point in a single direction but that direction could be wrong. Science has been wrong. But that doesn’t mean that we should ignore science when it certainly beats guessing.
Some people believe the Bible says the Earth is flat. Is it? No the Earth is a sphere (actually a oblate spheroid as my son says). How do we know? There is plenty of circumstantial evidence that the earth is a sphere, but we know that the earth is a sphere, for sure, because of the following:
- April 12, 1961: Soviets Orbit Gargarin, First Human In Space
No, the United States was not the first in space, the Soviets were. Why would we admit this if it were not true?
- February 20, 1962: John Glenn Orbits the Earth in Friendship 7
A second orbit of the Earth by the United States
- First Man on Moon – Neil Armstrong – Apollo 11, July 20, 1969
The Wikipedia article has a picture of the Earth from the Moon.
- Russians Admitted They Lost Race To Moon – NYT 1989
Published by the New York Times, the Russians admitted that they lost the race to the Moon because of failures in their own program. They would have denied we went if we didn’t.
We know the Earth is a sphere (or the like) because of seeing it from space. There is no doubt. It is no longer speculation. So is the Bible wrong? The Bible actually talks about the four corners of the Earth, which in my opinion is more poetic language than literal language. Check the link out for more information.
Now Genesis can be calculated out so that the Earth and the Universe has only been in existence for around 6,000 years. But science says that the universe has been in existence 13.8 billion years. How do you resolve this disagreement? Perhaps you don’t. How important is it for you to know how old the Earth is? Would you feel better if they agreed?
Why We Need Science: The Future of the Earth
Now this is where the rubber meets the road. Global warming is a hot issue right now. Literally. This issue is specifically why we need science. Could global warming be a hoax? Could it be not the result of human activity? Is there anything we an really do about it?
Global warming is happening. How do we know? Because we gather surface temperatures from all over the world and aggregate them. This is factual data. Average global temperatures are increasing from year to year. A particular place on Earth may not be. You may have had a cooler summer or colder winter than normal. But overall, average global temperatures have increased.
Human activity is the main driver of extreme global warming. How do we know? Studies have been done using the best information possible of past global warming periods. Usually they happen over longer periods than we are witnessing now. This is information that is debatable, but you certainly cannot say you have proof that humans have no impact on global warming.
There is something we can do about global warming. We can stop putting CO2 in the air. That could actually mean all kinds of things, from moving towards electric rather than gasoline, to pumping CO2 into the ground rather than releasing it into the air.
Why We Need Science: We Ignore Science at Our Own Peril
Whether we are in business, in government, or work at the Quickmart, we ignore science at our own peril. You have a different opinion that makes sense? Speak out. But make sure your point of view is backed with data and not just an unguided perception. We have plenty of uneducated opinions about even the things we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. We don’t need more.