Confirmational Bias in Modern Science

Science has always been somewhat confrontational and most often doing so unintentionally. When new discoveries are made or new methods are employed these often interrupt the usual way society thinks, works and plays. It is a trait of human nature to like the tried and true and to argue and to brazenly denounce the startling and the hitherto unheard-of.

Modern science, according to Dr. Martin Nickels, Anthropologist from Illinois State University, my lone research effort for this article, sees itself as an interpreter of “the natural world” and is less concerned with the gathering of facts and descriptive explanations of how things are.

The natural world, as he sees it, is the world we can see, feel, touch, and is a tangible world, one that is generally agreed upon. And he readily admits that much of this world along its fringes’ are not clearly delineated. Residing close by these cloudy areas is the unknowable supernatural’ or metaphysical’. These he points out may exist, yet it’s not the purpose of science to pursue them.

Science of whatever category is never absolutely sure of everything it expounds upon. It may be true at that moment in time and later newer evidence may prove it wrong. In other words, modern science in its finest moments seeks to present the truth but the truth of any situation is never static. What is true then for that purpose may not be true today for this purpose.

Society, often set in its ways, has a hard time dealing with this. And it’s also true that segments of society seek to widen gaps of misunderstanding for various reasons, none of them complimentary to science in its genuine form. Their consternation is understandable when we realize that it is only possible for a person, or a group of persons, to understand or grasp what they have previously encountered.

An explanation of that statement is as close as the title of this article, “Modern science and its confrontational bias”.   All of the Helium contestants will be viewing this differently, according to their own interpretations. Some will seek to understand how differences come about, others will jump right in on one side or the other and even some may be accuse this or that source for adding to the bias. None of this is essentially wrong, neither is it essentially right. It is the way things are.

Generally speaking, when most of us hear of confrontational bias where science is concerned we immediately jump on the Science vs. Religion bandwagon.  It is absolutely amazing how this generates a lot of steam but little else. Genuine science in its most pure form is not against religion, nor God, its difference being it seeks to work within its own knowable perimeters.

Religion works along the same principles, working within its own guidelines of genuinely held truths and confronts the pseudo scientists only when they invade their sacred territories of belief. And it must be understood that both religion and science often gets bogged down with baggage that is unnecessary to their purest intentions.

Balance is what concerns both the physical world of science and the spiritual world of religion. when we get lopsided, and we often do, there will be interruptions in the way things ought to be. These are made known to man as freaks of nature’. They occur in both the world of science and in religion. It is what allows for disease, mental illness, and destruction, to name only a few of the ‘unbalances’ of the physical and spiritual world.

Both use facts’ in their methods and their beliefs according to generally held opinions, but genuine science more readily changes theirs when proven wrong, than do some religions. Science, too, makes use of hypothesis, not an absolute truth, but a truth that has been scrutinized by many different minds and is either rejected or labeled as false. Religion does this too but its method may not be as fool-proof as that of science.

Theories abound in confrontations where science is concerned, and are explanations, and some are yet unproven. Such and such may be true, only time will tell. Many fall by the wayside as more evidence against them is presented.

Modern science in its genuine form need not be confrontational to be effective, but its members, however well learned they may be, must remain teachable. The same with religion. Both have a lot to learn from each other.

PS: The research article in question concerned itself only with modern science. No mention was made of confrontation or bias or of religion. I read it only to better understand science.