Why Scientists Lie to You

A confession – by Bushwhacker (retired scientist)

There’s a saying that goes, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.  I believe that’s because it gives the holder a false sense of purpose or direction, as though they had alot of knowledge.  Sadly, this often begins with a scientist. From there, it gets  interpreted by a journalist whose only interest is making the bigger splash in the morning bull-session than his peers.  From there it gets wordsmithed by editors more interested in selling advertising air-time, than delivering facts.  From there, it wends and bends its way into magazine print, and the dreaded mis-information highway where it’s plagiarized to site after site after site like a pandemic disease.  By that time, a generally disinterested public with limited resources, time, and patience, hears of it but doesn’t have the inclination to form an opinion on the issue.  So they allow their favourite newscaster to form their opinion for them.  Have you seen those god-awful ads where idiots pledge allegiance to some pretty-boy who can do nothing more than read a teleprompter at 11:00 p.m. ?  I’m not sure whether to be amused or scared.  Hmmm Let’s see, I`ve only got a few decades left on this worthless rock and I have no children, so … amused it is !

From there (no it’s not over yet), with a good Marketing campaign, it’ll hit the Oprah Show or another equal venue of higher learning, like Ellen DeGeneres.  From there, some politician takes it to a seat of government and they pass a decree which addresses the issue immediately (unless it costs money, and then it`ll be scheduled for review in 2156).  Otherwise, the law is passed, the changes are made, and 6 more species pass into extinction, one of which held the cure for cancer.  Why ?

Because no one bothered to look beyond their nose.

We do the deed, checkmark the box, and congratulate ourselves.  We worship the unworthy, vilify the contributors, and ignore the martyrs.  Then, we “put it to bed” and carry on, confident that we’ve solved yet another mystery of Life, and made the Earth just that much better a planet to be from.

I can’t help but wonder what we, as a species, could accomplish if we’d just take a moment to consider the concept of, tomorrow.  I’m all in favour of instant gratification, but not if I gotta spend all my time and efforts re-establishing the gratification, somewhat less than instantaneously.  Now, as much as I’d like you to trust and believe me when I say, my beloved science will find a way … I’m not that good a liar.  You’d see right through me. And that is why we bullsh!t and bamboozle you.  It’s just easier that way, ‘cause by the time you make a decision, you’ve mostly forgotten what the issue was. It’s just too damned busy a World anymore to expect anyone to pay attention to an issue which doesn’t really affect them in their immediate World.  So we feed you a line of crap, hopefully scaring the Hell outa ya, and then, ask for money.  How does that differ from anyone else, in any other profession ?

It doesn’t.

All I can say in our defense is that, we have to over-play to get your attention, to get the funding needed to do what really should be done. I keep telling myself, If the issue warrants an opinion, then it merits adequate forethought, and I try to hold to that.  It’s tough to do because exactly how much forethought is “adequate” ?   Where does one draw the line and form an opinion or take a stand ?  Well, if you take the time to think, and look beyond your nose, you’d be better off than the vast majority of others. Others who read the latest news reports offered by those who don’t take the time to think, and who don’t look beyond their noses either.

‘Course, the downside is that you might well be standing alone with your opinion, decision, or belief, and you might still be ultimately wrong.  However, by the time the issue comes around, anyone who could say “I told you so” will have long forgotten to care about the issue.  The only ones remaining will be you, and the few others who can see beyond their noses.  But we’re a small, close-knit group, and we tend to cut each other a lotta slack, so go ahead … try it.



  1. John Iafrate · · Reply

    Great post.


  2. Heh heh heh, I knew you’d like this one Johnny.

    Ladies and Gentlemen … allow me to introduce John Iafrate. The only other scientist I’ve ever had any respect for.



  3. Meeka · · Reply

    Well said!
    If you had a “like” button i would hit it


  4. Thanks kindly Spitfire. My “like” button may not work, but I don’t need it when I can get comments from my friends.



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