The myth of ‘settled science’

The myth of ‘settled science’

National Geographic’s latest cover story has generated lots of attention because it sneers at those close-minded Americans — mostly conservatives, of course — who do not accept scientific “facts.” Only 40 percent of Americans (according to Pew Research Center) “accept that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming,” and the magazine finds it “dispiriting” that so many “reasonable people doubt science.”

National Geographic compares global warming doubters to those disbelieve NASA’s moon landing and those who think water fluoridation is an evil plot. How could so many dismiss “established science?”

Well, here’s one reason: The public has come to distrust government warnings and the scientific experts; they are often wrong.

Ironically, National Geographic’s sermon on settled science could have hardly come at a more inopportune time. In recent months, leading scientists have reversed themselves and have admitted their expert findings and advice were wrong on eating fat. After decades of telling us not to do so, we now learn that fat can be good for your diet and for weight loss. What we all thought to be true based on the expert testimonies, turned out to be precisely the opposite of the truth. Oops.

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