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Brian Keating: Getting Nervous About “Follow the Science”

Photo: Brian Keating, by Brucelieberman, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

If you didn’t realize, physicist Brian Keating at U.C. San Diego is a dynamo. This week he released a video on PragerU, which begins, “I’m an astrophysicist at a major university. Science is my life. But when I hear somebody somberly intone, ‘science says’ or  ‘follow the science,’ I get very nervous.” 

He also came out with a video, “Knowledge ≠ Wisdom,” dashing cold water on the idea that scientists are any wiser than the rest of us. 

And, finally, I caught up with his recent conversation with Michael Knowles for PragerU’s Book Club, discussing Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

These are all EXCELLENT. I would say the themes of all three have to do with the importance of not worshipping scientists or imagining that science is infallible. Instead, it’s subject to constant revision, criticism, and yes, as you’ve heard us say a million times, debate. Scientists themselves are not oracles, and they’re certainly NOT to be venerated as special sources of wisdom or morality.

Important and entertaining correctives to widespread faulty thinking, these are videos to share widely. Keating is very accessible and very amusing. He doesn’t address any recent hot-button issues, so it would be interesting to ask him what he makes of the way “science” was used this past year to lock us in our homes and devastate the economy while permitting mobs to rampage freely in U.S. cities. If you missed his outstanding interview with Stephen Meyer about Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, check that out, too.