“Truthiness” vs. Science

Though it will likely be self-evident to my readers that scientific truth does not always match our instincts, nonetheless Daniel Barash lays out the idea cleanly and wittily, borrowing a concept from Stephen Colbert, in an op-ed for the LATimes, entitled  "Gut Instinct Isn’t Science."

After all, the sun moves through our sky, but it is the Earth that is
going around the sun. Our planet is round, even though it sure feels
flat under our feet as we walk. The microbial theory of disease only
prevailed because Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch and other scientists
finally marshaled enough irrefutable evidence to overwhelm the
alternative perspective: that things too small to be seen with the
naked eye couldn’t possibly exist or have any effect on us.

He also includes a prescient quote from one of the great philosophers of science, Sir Francis Bacon:

"The human understanding resembles not a dry light, but admits a
tincture of the will and passions, which generate their own system
accordingly: for man always believes more readily that which he
prefers…. In short, his feelings imbue and corrupt his understanding in
innumerable and sometimes imperceptible ways."

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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