Ilana Yurkiewicz has just written a piece The downside of politicians talking about science which includes the following passage:
That mentality just doesn’t work in science. Those who are new to a subject are intimidated from asking questions and afraid to disagree. Rather than reason through ideas themselves, they are pressured into accepting conclusions presented as settled and thereby indisputable. But the thing is, nearly everything in science is disputable. The nature of discovery means trying to find the absolute truth – and exposing inconsistencies, thinking through how to reconcile them, and critically analyzing data are all ways to get there. We can’t get very far when curiosity and open inquiry – the hallmarks of good science – are stifled. We are touting the bottom line while discouraging the very steps of the scientific method that get us there.
What we have to realize is that science and politics have fundamentally different goals, and it’s damaging to conflate them. In politics, the aim is to convince others that you are right. Scientists, ideally, should be seeking objective truths. To do so, they need to be receptive to dissent and open to the possibility of being wrong. Science thrives when diverse ways of thinking are welcome.