One of the more common complaints I hear about science from family, friends, and people online is that science is too slow. I heard the same complaint in a different form last night while watching the documentary “Vanishing of the Bees” about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). All throughout the doc I heard references similar to “we know something is wrong, but scientists can’t find the cause so it’s not getting any attention” and toward the end Michael Pollan brought out the awful “other ways of knowing” argument in regards to CCD.
Look, I understand that people can get a little pissed when their observations aren’t corroborated by science right away but that is not the fault of science. Science is a process that takes time. Lots of time. It is remarkably difficult both technically and conceptually and there are many more failures than successes. I can understand the plight felt by the beekeepers, but just because they felt something was wrong doesn’t truly mean there was anything wrong. In this case, yes, there was and science was able to get to the bottom of it (I think…). This is precisely how science works and yet people are blaming science for not figuring it out faster! It’s patently absurd!
You can believe it all you want, but there really isn’t any “other way of knowing” that beats the scientific way of knowing. If there was it would simply be taken over by scientists and would be the “new science.” But this simply isn’t the case and it never will be. “Other ways of knowing” are simply not as reliable as science because they don’t follow reproducible evidence wherever it leads and for that they will always be deeply flawed.
Science wins, get over it.