We’re a rather educated bunch here in Stillwater – can we agree on that?

Does it gall when we see people who want to dismiss medical expertise with “do your own research,” or “I’ve researched this” lines?

Most of us know that searching the internet for conclusions we hope will support our biases is not what anyone would call “research.”

The other thing – taking for example the handful of people who spoke Monday at Council against a mask proposal – is that the learning curve appears to have remained flat. Many were still bringing up arguments against masking or vaccines that have been debunked for some time now.

The people telling others to “research,” have never allowed for their personal preconceptions to be challenged.

We are not unique. That’s the way things are now. Echo chambers are hard to break.

Longtime readers will remember the late News Press columnist Dick Ortez, who wrote a lot about food science, but would also often write about the nature of science.

This next bit is a portion of his series of columns he titled, “The Essence of Science,” from 2016.

“... the idea of ‘proof’ is absolutely contrary to scientific study. Let me repeat that: Science never ‘proves’ anything, it can’t, its whole approach is one of ‘disproof.’

Since its objective is to discover ‘truth,’ setting out to ‘prove’ something is anathema to science. A scientist is ‘obliged’ to investigate all possible explanations for whatever he or she is studying – ‘especially’ those contrary to his or her personal preferences.

Ultimately, science reaches its conclusions by exclusion; it tests all possible explanations for something, discarding those not supported by hard evidence. It finally accepts as ‘most likely true’ what it has been unable to disprove.”

Something to think about, when people who think “research” is 10 minutes on Google or an hour watching YouTube try to tell you that masks have “not been proven” to work or call vaccines “experimental.”

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Dr. Ortez.

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