Should we trust science as long as its knowledge is based on valid and reliable research? The quick answer is yes and no. It is not wise to lean entirely on science for four main reasons.
1. Science may fail, too. It is not a powerful Olympian God (we would say humorously) that does everything perfectly with exceptional precision.
2. We all know that companies sometimes fund research to prove certain things for their own benefit. In such cases, research may focus on a particular area, and the outcome (though valid) may be misleading, intentionally or unintentionally. Not all people who read it can see the whole picture, and it may not be wise to lean on that outcome entirely.
Suppose product A is good for the heart; thus, people start consuming it. However, other research may have shown that the same product is unhealthy for the liver. Although the first research is valid, if people focus only on that and don’t know more about product A, they may harm their health. Of course, the company that benefits from product A will advertise it as much as possible. Have you not seen often in reality information about new research for a product that, for example, contributes to longevity? Then, after a while, another company does research showing that the specific product causes a health issue. The whole picture is often missing from the consumer’s side. Therefore, a company can easily mislead them with research focusing on particular areas.
3. Even if science never failed, it wouldn’t be surprising that a researcher has been bribed to hide some outcomes that would damage a company. Let’s be honest. We don’t live in an ideal world.
4. Even if science never failed, we wouldn’t know for sure if, for example, a product is really healthy. The adverse symptoms may appear ten or twenty years later. Decades may pass until we find out that something is harmful. That may be the case with the controversial topics of cell phones and the radiation they emit, GMO food, and other products, ingredients, or procedures. After decades, we may find that cell phones are responsible for certain cancers or other diseases, but the damage will already be done to countless people. The same may happen with GMO food. Who knows? We can never be sure a hundred percent.
We should always keep up with new research. Despite the above reasons, we must rely on science, not blindly. Humans are intelligent creatures, and logic and common sense should always come first. If something does not sound logical, we should give it a second thought, even if all the scientists back it up. Let’s not forget that, years ago, a great scientist, Alice Stewart, found out that cancers in babies were caused by X-rays that pregnant women had received. Sadly, the use of X-rays was abandoned 25 years after her research. Babies suffered or lost their lives all those years, although her study was known. For sure, something was wrong with the way the medical system worked at that time.
Another case we should consider is that of swine flu in 1976. This video shows that one of the best journalists of his time in the US uncovered a scandal where serious side effects of a vaccine were known but kept secret. As a result, thousands of people were seriously affected.
When it also comes to science, we should know whether the therapies developed respect life. For example, fetal cell lines – cells grown in a laboratory and based on aborted fetal cells collected generations ago – are used in testing during research and development of some vaccines. Although fetus cells are not part of those vaccines, the fact that aborted fetus cells are used in the process makes many people skeptical about the ethics of some companies. That is another thing we should all look at when we discuss science. What is ethical and unethical in research?
The conclusion? We should definitely lean on science and be up to date on new research to improve our lives and move forward. However, for the above reasons, we should also be a little suspicious and always let logic have the final word. Remember that science serves humanity when it respects life, promotes health, preserves freedom, and improves the world. Otherwise, it serves something else.