One problem is that there are never "two sides to a story." There are some facts, often imperfectly understood or established on shaky grounds but nevertheless the best we have at this moment in time. Then there are as many alternative notions as human imagination can provide. The idea that there is any comparison between the two categories is where we make the first fundamental mistake. When we're doing our own research we should look at the original published papers and ideally the original datasets. In this way we can often detect flaws or errors, or conversely see that the experiment was well-designed and the data reasonably robust. When it comes to more abstract science, however, the jury is always out as we try to get better data by means of more robust processes. On "the other side" however there is nothing but confusion, empty assertion, and dubious claims. While genuine experts may often be wrong, self-proclaimed experts are invariably wrong. Human wisdom even at its best is deeply flawed; hence we need a certain ability to cope with uncertainty and ambiguity. Ethan is good on cosmology but less good when it comes to other areas of scientific writing.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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