Headlines continuously claim science says strange, contradictory and outrageous things. Headlines seldom interrogate who is this science saying this things. I’ve also never seen headlines claiming politics find fascism is the best or economics finds new evidence for slavery. Somewhere surely someone is saying fascism is the best and someone is defending slavery but oddly those headlines never show up. Every politician, economist and pundit has a name.
Scientists however are a uniform faceless mass, never referred to by name. At best it’s a research team from a prestigious university. But over all, it’s “science” saying. Science has been made an entity, standing in for all the majority of people doesn’t understand, care to understand or even know. It’s not even important to understand, a faceless mass of the morlocks keep on pushing the gears of science and normal people can go on pondering what’s real important, whether or not eating detergent capsules will go viral on Chinese media.
Around 1940 science detached from the ordinary world. The physical macroscopic world was mostly conquered and anything vaguely interesting dealt with the invisible, the unreachable and the unthinkable. That lift off accelerated the development of technology and further propelled science into the realms of atomic, then the subatomic and now quantities of energy totally outside human experience. Scientists sprinted ahead of engineers and engineers sprinted ahead of politicians and accountants. It was bound to happen and we’ve done a rather poor job of answering “how does going to the moon put food on my plate?”