When I first heard it, it puzzled me. The ignoring command is heard in several versions. “Don’t question the science.”https://hl.nwaonline.com/news/2022/feb/16/religion-dont-question-the-science/”Follow the science.”https://hl. nwaonline .com/news/2022/feb/16/religion-dont-question-the-science/ “Accept the science.” Having worked in the scientific community for 22 years, I learned that scientists question everything. I like what a friend of mine said. “Not questioning the science? That’s what scientists do!
Dr. Albert Einstein questioned his own assumptions, theories and ideas. Why? Many other scientists also interviewed them. However, to validate an erroneous concept, he created the famous “fudge factor”.
In an article titled “Einstein’s Biggest Mistake?” (Donald Goldsmith, PhD, 1997) we read: “In theoretical physics, when Albert Einstein originally tried to produce a general theory of relativity, he found that the theory seemed to predict the gravitational collapse of the universe: it seemed that the universe had to either expand or collapse, and to produce a model in which the universe was static and stable (which seemed to Einstein at the time to be the “right” result), he introduced an expansionary variable (called the Cosmological Constant), whose sole purpose was to cancel out the cumulative effects of gravitation. He later called it “the biggest mistake of my life”.
Nicolas Copernicus is well known for his work on heliocentrism, that is, the sun is the center of our solar system. I read that he delayed publishing his ideas because of opposition, NOT from the church, but from fellow scientific scholars. You see, scientists believed that the sun circled the earth, but Copernicus questioned the science of the day. Of course he was right.
In January 1912, German geophysicist Alfred Wegener questioned the science of the time and proposed what we now call continental drift. He was accused of having “the disease of the shifting crust and the plague of the wandering poles”. However, in the 1960s, the movement of tectonic plates was confirmed.
British surgeon and pioneer in bacteriology, Dr. Joseph Lister promoted the concept of airborne bacteria or germs that cause illness and death. He applied the work of Louis Pasteur by developing an antiseptic to reduce death. He was mocked and his ideas were scorned by his colleagues. He questioned the science of the time, but he was right. Have you ever heard of the mouthwash called Listerine? Named after Joseph Lister, Listerine was developed in 1879 by Joseph Lawrence, a chemist in St. Louis, Mo.
And Robert H. Goddard? Have you ever heard of him? He was the butt of mockery and ridicule for the audacity to question common sense and science. To discredit Goddard, in 1920 The New York Times publicly vilified him for believing humans could go to space in a craft called a rocket. One of the statements in the article read, “This Professor Goddard seems to lack the knowledge provided daily in high schools.” However, because Robert Goddard challenged the science, we now have NASA’s famous Goddard Space Flight Center and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Following a 1755 hypothesis, Mr. Edwin Hubble questioned the science of the time (1924) and proposed that tiny space clouds outside our Milky Way galaxy were distant galaxies. It was opposed by many in the astronomical field, in particular by Harlow Shapley, head of the Harvard College Observatory (1921-1952). But Edwin Hubble is a name you should recognize, because the Hubble Telescope is named after him.
Do you see what I’m talking about ? It is not only acceptable to question established scientific thinking, we MUST challenge it. Whether our challenge is valid or not, we learn through our investigation. It is the scientific method.
A major problem develops when an idea turns out to be incorrect, but the proponents of the concept do what Charles Darwin and his followers did. They created hypotheses and theories, labeled them as facts, and defended the concepts with religious zeal. Then, like Einstein did, they created fudge factors to try to validate their ideas. My dad said many times, “Son, if someone says something long enough and loud enough, even if it’s wrong, it will eventually get a big following.
And that’s why some ideas are called science when they are actually philosophy or religion. I have worked with scientists who hold many beliefs that have been scientifically disproven. But they have based their professions on their beliefs, so they cling to their unscientific philosophies with religious ardour.
So go ahead. Question the science. Search for truth. But don’t fight. If someone gets upset about it, that’s not your problem.
— S. Eugene Linzey is an author, mentor and speaker. Send your comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.