This was a comment to this post of Sean Carroll's:
@TychaBrahe: "And perhaps then we need to teach that in school as part of the science curriculum. What you have here is Gerber’s. The meat is very far out of reach, but you can get there. And if you aren’t willing to devote your life to getting there, then you do need to take on faith the pronouncements of those who have done so."
Oh my. This is, plain and simple, how one would define a priest chaste: "True understanding is very far out of reach, but you can get there. And if you aren’t willing to devote your life to getting there, then you do need to take on faith the pronouncements of those who have done so."
The crux of the problem appears to be that a fairly large portion of scientists are - at heart - positivists, meaning that they think science makes assertions about what is true. (Even if most of them do publicly tell that they are Popper's followers, meaning they believe science makes assertions about what is false, a very different kind of fish).
When - inevitably - some of the previous "truths" is falsified, that turns out not to be good science PR.
A number of people claiming to speak in name of science also goes around making statements about the very small probability of something happening. (This is, by the way, bad methodology: a book called "The Black Swan" explains why.)
When that something happens, (say, Fukushima blows up, the Challenger disintegrates) that also turns out not to be good science PR.
Scientific eschatology can also be called to task as not being a source for good PR, seeing as, these days, it touts as sound a version of the anthropic principle depending on the existence of 10^500 universes created by the vagaries of an inflaton field whose existence is "theoretically testable".
Last, but not least, the attitude of many subscribers to the so called "new atheism" movement (aggressively ridiculing anybody not adhering to their point of view), isn't helping any.
Ideas for better PR, anyone?
5 hours ago