In the face of everything from anecdote posing as evidence to bias peddlers to outright quackery, the best riposte is to champion good science. But how? Dr Jessica Berentson-Shaw offers seven tips on The Spinoff
An excerpt (read in full)
Science and evidence gets a pretty bad rap these days. Some of this bad rap is the science community’s responsibility to fix – we are not always great at communicating effectively with the non-science community. Sometimes, people can doubt our agendas if scientists visibly align themselves to the powerful. If we are gagged in what we can say then again, the public gets nervous when we do speak, wondering if it is the whole truth. These things can make the public a little suspicious and erode trust in what we say.
In an age when we are drowning in information, some people are simply overwhelmed by the deluge, especially when one study seems to contradict the one published last week. For some it seems safer to make their own judgments, to prioritise personal experience, to seek out studies that support how they already understand the world to work, or just to dismiss science as too biased. The net effect is unfortunately the rise and reliance on “bad science” (see also “no science”).
Good Science, when effectively communicated and shown to be relevant to everyone’s life, is an empowering tool – one that can be used to eliminate inequality, cut through prejudice and bring a much fairer, kinder, progressive and frankly more awesome society out of the shadows.