It can though.
In our modern societies, there has been a growing trust in Science.
Now, this is _generally_ a great thing! Believe me when I say that I’m glad for that.
… for some, it becomes an unblinking belief.
If it shows up in a peer-reviewed journal, it’s as good as fact for some. But perhaps they won’t accept open source journals.
If it shows up on ANY journal, it’s as good as fact for others. But perhaps they won’t accept Memes without checking the sources.
If it shows up as a Meme and has the word Science on it (“SpiritScience” and “I fucking love Science” being two that spring to mind), it’s as good as fact for them. As long as nobody mentions religion, it’s fact.
Haven’t you see that people pattern yourself?
Papers unread by peers are a big problem. Here, I will do exactly what I was complaining about and use a news media article to provide evidence. I do it too. I’m just as bad as anybody else:
Now, these papers that are not read by peers – just by the journal editor, their professor and the person that wrote it – are “out there”.
They sit. On arXiv, wherever.
[now for fictional thought experiment]
Now, non-peer science enthusiast Joe Smith comes along wanting to prove a point. He finds support for his idea through an online search.
Now Joe Smith is a smart dude. He’s rational, reasonable, logical. Not an idiot by any stretch. But he has a point to prove.
He finds support in an online search. He can prove that it’s Science because it shows up. It’s been published! It’s in a journal! Why, maybe he even goes so far as to check if it was peer reviewed before being published.
So, he makes a Meme about it. Spreads it around. People start sharing it far and wide.
People who argue its veracity and he says, “I found it in [xxx] journal – here’s the link”.
Point’s proven. It’s Science, yes?
But is it?
Nobody within the scientific community read it – not in the way that Scientists read. [they cite when they read to prove points].
The more citations, the more veracity an article gets. It’s a kind of democracy for truth values.
So what happens to society’s trust in Science when memes and news articles appear left and right?
People love Science. Science is hot stuff. Science says, it must be so.
But the thing is: Science is ever changing. Ever adapting. Even well-cited papers only really show popularity. Science has fads like any other human field.
it’s not easy. it’s not easy. We always have to be careful what we accept as evidence.
As Science moves forward getting greater and greater support in the popular mind. there is, to me a HUGE responsibility required. Not just of “the people”. The people are the receivers. They have to learn to be critical and wise of course.
But so do the institutions. They’re the ones putting this stuff out there.
So does the media… but media responsibility has never been that strong in any era.
Well, anyway, I don’t expect you to agree with me here. I’m ok with that. I’m just presenting my thoughts.