The Success of Science

One of the reasons for its success is that science has built-in, self-correcting machinery at its very heart. It takes account of human fallibility. One of its commandments is, "Mistrust arguments from authority." Too many such arguments have turned out to be painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like anybody else. This independence of science, its unwillingness to pay automatic obeisance to conventional wisdom, makes it dangerous to doctrines less self- critical.

Because science carries us toward an understanding of how the world is, rather than how we would wish it to be, its findings may not in all cases be immediately comprehensible or satisfying. It may take a little work to restructure our mindsets. Some of science is very simple. When it gets complicated, that's usually because the world is complicated — or because we're complicated. When we shy away from it because it seems too difficult (or because we've been taught so poorly), we surrender the ability to take charge of our future. We're disenfranchised. Our self-confidence erodes.

But when we penetrate the barrier, when the findings and methods of science get through to us, when we understand and put this knowledge to use, many feel, if not wild exhilaration, at least deep satisfaction. This is true for everyone, but especially for children — born with a zest for knowledge, aware that they must live in a future molded by science, but so often convinced by their culture that science is not for them. I know personally, both from having science explained to me and from my attempts to explain it to others, how gratifying it is when we get it, when obscure terms suddenly take on meaning, when we grasp what all the fuss has been about, when wonders are revealed. We feel reassured: We're not so stupid after all. We can influence the decisions touching on science that will determine our future. And we're moved ~ because in its encounter with Nature, science invariably conveys reverence and awe.


Comes from its built-in self-criticism, its proven results, and the reverence and awe it inspires.

Folksonomies: science virtue public policy

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Epistemology (0.622708): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Explanation (0.536921): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Critical thinking (0.527023): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Scientific method (0.492501): dbpedia | freebase
Theory (0.489946): dbpedia | freebase
The Barrier (0.447186): dbpedia | freebase | yago
1997 albums (0.445517): dbpedia

 Advocating science and hope : draft essay
Unpublished Work>Publication of Limited Circulation:  Sagan , Carl (1994), Advocating science and hope : draft essay, Retrieved on 2014-03-03
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: science public policy