“The Science”. What a dullard’s sentence fragment. Reality comes in multiple levels. One level might have different rules to the one beneath it, but is built upon it. Understanding one level requires an understanding of the mathematical relationships between the things on all the underlying levels. The portion of human beings who can truly do this is tiny.
Much is written about the scientific method. About what is and what isn’t science. Generations of school children are taught to write their little reports starting with a hypothesis and ending with a conclusion. The truth is this: the tiny, tiny minority of human beings (of which I am NOT one) who are able to easily “see” those relationships are fully capable of devising their own methods for scientific investigation. And those of us who are not imbued with that ability to perceive can follow all the approved methods and still get things completely wrong.
There are two ways of operating in any field of competency. We all start by observing the things around us and by doing things the same way existing practitioners do. But one group of people, able to see the rules that relate one object to another, are able to trace things back to first principles. The other group, the majority of those “doing” science today are those lesser intellects such as ours. As much as they are, or should be, familiar with double blind trials, reducing errors and taking into account the effect on the final result of those errors which cannot be eliminated, the fact is that they conduct themselves by simply doing whatever is the accepted practice of the time.
Which mostly works. If you are a genetic engineer following the accepted and proven practices in the field you might discover all manner of interesting things, completely oblivious of the fact that you really don’t fully grasp the reasons for all the steps taken. Or the reasons have receded into the fuzzy past of undergraduate days and half remembered texts and lectures.
But the two things are in their nature totally different. One is science and the other is something less. Maybe best described as process.
Those processes, both physical and in evaluating, such as peer review, certain modelling types, statistical methods and formats of presenting discoveries, work well enough in the environment of universities staffed and enrolled with that tiny, tiny minority of humans who are capable of doing that other thing: tracing things back through first principles via the mathematical relationships between the objects that comprise the various layers of reality.
Climate science and what seems to now be occurring in the area of epidemiology indicate the shortfalls of those processes in an age when universities are no longer run to optimise the good work of that tiny, tiny minority.