Scientists really value evidence. Or at least, that’s what we all tell each other: we test hypotheses by confronting them with data, and our view of how the world works reflects the results of all these hypothesis tests. We get very, very upset when charlatans push irrational nonsense like intelligent design, ivermectin treatment for COVID, or the supposed dangers of vaccines. After all, in each case we have a well-founded rationale for declaring “nonsense”: there’s a mountain of evidence that all life on Earth has evolved through natural selection, that ivermectin is useless or worse against COVID, and that vaccines are safe and effective.* If we have a belief about the world, we ask if there’s data to support that belief; and if there isn’t, we change it. Right?
Well, surprisingly often, no. Continue reading