Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists

Every day we face issues like climate change or the safety of vaccines where we have to answer questions whose answers rely heavily on scientific information. Scientists tell us that the world is warming. Scientists tell us that vaccines are safe. But how do we know if they are right? Why should be believe the science? The fact is, many of us actually
don’t believe the science. Public opinion polls consistently show that significant proportions of the American people don’t believe the climate is
warming due to human activities, don’t think that there is
evolution by natural selection, and aren’t persuaded by the safety of vaccines. So why should we believe the science? Well, scientists don’t like talking about
science as a matter of belief. In fact, they would contrast science with faith, and they would say belief is the domain of faith. And faith is a separate thing
apart and distinct from science. Indeed they would say religion is based on faith or maybe the calculus of Pascal’s wager. Blaise Pascal was a 17th-century mathematician who tried to bring scientific
reasoning to the question of whether or not he should believe in God, and his wager went like this: Well, if God doesn’t exist but I decide to believe in him nothing much is really lost. Maybe a few hours on Sunday. (Laughter) But if he does exist and I don’t believe in him, then I’m in deep trouble. And so Pascal said, we’d better believe in God. Or as one of my college professors said, “He clutched for the handrail of faith.” He made that leap of faith leaving science and rationalism behind. Now the fact is though, for most of us, most scientific claims are a leap of faith. We can’t really judge scientific
claims for ourselves in most cases. And indeed this is actually
true for most scientists as well outside of their own specialties. So if you think about it, a geologist can’t tell you whether a vaccine is safe. Most chemists are not experts in evolutionary theory. A physicist cannot tell you, despite the claims of some of them, whether or not tobacco causes cancer. So, if even scientists themselves have to make a leap of faith outside their own fields, then why do they accept the
claims of other scientists? Why do they believe each other’s claims? And should we believe those claims? So what I’d like to argue is yes, we should, but not for the reason that most of us think. Most of us were taught in school
that the reason we should believe in science is because of the scientific method. We were taught that scientists follow a method and that this method guarantees the truth of their claims. The method that most of us were taught in school, we can call it the textbook method, is the hypothetical deductive method. According to the standard
model, the textbook model, scientists develop hypotheses, they deduce the consequences of those hypotheses, and then they go out into the world and they say, “Okay, well are those consequences true?” Can we observe them taking
place in the natural world? And if they are true, then the scientists say, “Great, we know the hypothesis is correct.” So there are many famous examples in the history of science of scientists doing exactly this. One of the most famous examples comes from the work of Albert Einstein. When Einstein developed the
theory of general relativity, one of the consequences of his theory was that space-time wasn’t just an empty void but that it actually had a fabric. And that that fabric was bent in the presence of massive objects like the sun. So if this theory were true then it meant that light as it passed the sun should actually be bent around it. That was a pretty startling prediction and it took a few years before scientists were able to test it but they did test it in 1919, and lo and behold it turned out to be true. Starlight actually does bend
as it travels around the sun. This was a huge confirmation of the theory. It was considered proof of the truth of this radical new idea, and it was written up in many newspapers around the globe. Now, sometimes this theory or this model is referred to as the deductive-nomological model, mainly because academics like
to make things complicated. But also because in the ideal case, it’s about laws. So nomological means having to do with laws. And in the ideal case, the hypothesis isn’t just an idea: ideally, it is a law of nature. Why does it matter that it is a law of nature? Because if it is a law, it can’t be broken. If it’s a law then it will always be true in all times and all places no matter what the circumstances are. And all of you know of at least
one example of a famous law: Einstein’s famous equation, E=MC2, which tells us what the relationship is between energy and mass. And that relationship is true no matter what. Now, it turns out, though, that there
are several problems with this model. The main problem is that it’s wrong. It’s just not true. (Laughter) And I’m going to talk about
three reasons why it’s wrong. So the first reason is a logical reason. It’s the problem of the fallacy
of affirming the consequent. So that’s another fancy, academic way of saying that false theories can make true predictions. So just because the prediction comes true doesn’t actually logically
prove that the theory is correct. And I have a good example of that too,
again from the history of science. This is a picture of the Ptolemaic universe with the Earth at the center of the universe and the sun and the planets going around it. The Ptolemaic model was believed by many very smart people for many centuries. Well, why? Well the answer is because it made
lots of predictions that came true. The Ptolemaic system enabled astronomers to make accurate predictions
of the motions of the planet, in fact more accurate predictions at first than the Copernican theory
which we now would say is true. So that’s one problem with the textbook model. A second problem is a practical problem, and it’s the problem of auxiliary hypotheses. Auxiliary hypotheses are assumptions that scientists are making that they may or may not even
be aware that they’re making. So an important example of this comes from the Copernican model, which ultimately replaced the Ptolemaic system. So when Nicolaus Copernicus said, actually the Earth is not the center of the universe, the sun is the center of the solar system, the Earth moves around the sun. Scientists said, well okay, Nicolaus, if that’s true we ought to be able to detect the motion of the Earth around the sun. And so this slide here illustrates a concept known as stellar parallax. And astronomers said, if the Earth is moving and we look at a prominent star, let’s say, Sirius — well I know I’m in Manhattan
so you guys can’t see the stars, but imagine you’re out in the country,
imagine you chose that rural life — and we look at a star in December, we see that star against the backdrop of distant stars. If we now make the same observation six months later when the Earth has moved to this position in June, we look at that same star and we
see it against a different backdrop. That difference, that angular
difference, is the stellar parallax. So this is a prediction that the Copernican model makes. Astronomers looked for the stellar parallax and they found nothing, nothing at all. And many people argued that this proved
that the Copernican model was false. So what happened? Well, in hindsight we can say
that astronomers were making two auxiliary hypotheses, both of which we would now say were incorrect. The first was an assumption
about the size of the Earth’s orbit. Astronomers were assuming
that the Earth’s orbit was large relative to the distance to the stars. Today we would draw the picture more like this, this comes from NASA, and you see the Earth’s orbit is actually quite small. In fact, it’s actually much
smaller even than shown here. The stellar parallax therefore, is very small and actually very hard to detect. And that leads to the second reason why the prediction didn’t work, because scientists were also assuming that the telescopes they had were sensitive enough to detect the parallax. And that turned out not to be true. It wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists were able to detect the stellar parallax. So, there’s a third problem as well. The third problem is simply a factual problem, that a lot of science doesn’t fit the textbook model. A lot of science isn’t deductive at all, it’s actually inductive. And by that we mean that scientists don’t necessarily start with theories and hypotheses, often they just start with observations of stuff going on in the world. And the most famous example
of that is one of the most famous scientists who ever lived, Charles Darwin. When Darwin went out as a young
man on the voyage of the Beagle, he didn’t have a hypothesis, he didn’t have a theory. He just knew that he wanted
to have a career as a scientist and he started to collect data. Mainly he knew that he hated medicine because the sight of blood made him sick so he had to have an alternative career path. So he started collecting data. And he collected many things,
including his famous finches. When he collected these finches,
he threw them in a bag and he had no idea what they meant. Many years later back in London, Darwin looked at his data again and began to develop an explanation, and that explanation was the
theory of natural selection. Besides inductive science, scientists also often participate in modeling. One of the things scientists want to do in life is to explain the causes of things. And how do we do that? Well, one way you can do it is to build a model that tests an idea. So this is a picture of Henry Cadell, who was a Scottish geologist in the 19th century. You can tell he’s Scottish because he’s wearing a deerstalker cap and Wellington boots. (Laughter) And Cadell wanted to answer the question, how are mountains formed? And one of the things he had observed is that if you look at mountains
like the Appalachians, you often find that the rocks in them are folded, and they’re folded in a particular way, which suggested to him that they were actually being
compressed from the side. And this idea would later play a major role in discussions of continental drift. So he built this model, this crazy contraption with levers and wood, and here’s his wheelbarrow, buckets, a big sledgehammer. I don’t know why he’s got the Wellington boots. Maybe it’s going to rain. And he created this physical model in order to demonstrate that you could, in fact, create patterns in rocks, or at least, in this case, in mud, that looked a lot like mountains if you compressed them from the side. So it was an argument about
the cause of mountains. Nowadays, most scientists prefer to work inside, so they don’t build physical models so much as to make computer simulations. But a computer simulation is a kind of a model. It’s a model that’s made with mathematics, and like the physical models of the 19th century, it’s very important for thinking about causes. So one of the big questions
to do with climate change, we have tremendous amounts of evidence that the Earth is warming up. This slide here, the black line shows the measurements that scientists have taken for the last 150 years showing that the Earth’s temperature has steadily increased, and you can see in particular
that in the last 50 years there’s been this dramatic increase of nearly one degree centigrade, or almost two degrees Fahrenheit. So what, though, is driving that change? How can we know what’s causing the observed warming? Well, scientists can model it using a computer simulation. So this diagram illustrates a computer simulation that has looked at all the different factors that we know can influence the Earth’s climate, so sulfate particles from air pollution, volcanic dust from volcanic eruptions, changes in solar radiation, and, of course, greenhouse gases. And they asked the question, what set of variables put into a model will reproduce what we actually see in real life? So here is the real life in black. Here’s the model in this light gray, and the answer is a model that includes, it’s the answer E on that SAT, all of the above. The only way you can reproduce the observed temperature measurements is with all of these things put together, including greenhouse gases, and in particular you can see that the increase in greenhouse gases tracks this very dramatic increase in temperature over the last 50 years. And so this is why climate scientists say it’s not just that we know that
climate change is happening, we know that greenhouse gases are a major part of the reason why. So now because there all these different things that scientists do, the philosopher Paul Feyerabend famously said, “The only principle in science that doesn’t inhibit progress is: anything goes.” Now this quotation has often
been taken out of context, because Feyerabend was not actually saying that in science anything goes. What he was saying was, actually the full quotation is, “If you press me to say what is the method of science, I would have to say: anything goes.” What he was trying to say is that scientists do a lot of different things. Scientists are creative. But then this pushes the question back: If scientists don’t use a single method, then how do they decide what’s right and what’s wrong? And who judges? And the answer is, scientists judge, and they judge by judging evidence. Scientists collect evidence in many different ways, but however they collect it, they have to subject it to scrutiny. And this led the sociologist Robert Merton to focus on this question of how scientists scrutinize data and evidence, and he said they do it in a way he called “organized skepticism.” And by that he meant it’s organized because they do it collectively, they do it as a group, and skepticism, because they do it from a position of distrust. That is to say, the burden of proof is on the person with a novel claim. And in this sense, science
is intrinsically conservative. It’s quite hard to persuade the scientific community to say, “Yes, we know something, this is true.” So despite the popularity of the concept of paradigm shifts, what we find is that actually, really major changes in scientific thinking are relatively rare in the history of science. So finally that brings us to one more idea: If scientists judge evidence collectively, this has led historians to focus on the question of consensus, and to say that at the end of the day, what science is, what scientific knowledge is, is the consensus of the scientific experts who through this process of organized scrutiny, collective scrutiny, have judged the evidence and come to a conclusion about it, either yea or nay. So we can think of scientific knowledge as a consensus of experts. We can also think of science as being a kind of a jury, except it’s a very special kind of jury. It’s not a jury of your peers, it’s a jury of geeks. It’s a jury of men and women with Ph.D.s, and unlike a conventional jury, which has only two choices, guilty or not guilty, the scientific jury actually has a number of choices. Scientists can say yes, something’s true. Scientists can say no, it’s false. Or, they can say, well it might be true but we need to work more
and collect more evidence. Or, they can say it might be true, but we don’t know how to answer the question and we’re going to put it aside and maybe we’ll come back to it later. That’s what scientists call “intractable.” But this leads us to one final problem: If science is what scientists say it is, then isn’t that just an appeal to authority? And weren’t we all taught in school that the appeal to authority is a logical fallacy? Well, here’s the paradox of modern science, the paradox of the conclusion I think historians and philosophers and sociologists have come to, that actually science is the appeal to authority, but it’s not the authority of the individual, no matter how smart that individual is, like Plato or Socrates or Einstein. It’s the authority of the collective community. You can think of it is a kind of wisdom of the crowd, but a very special kind of crowd. Science does appeal to authority, but it’s not based on any individual, no matter how smart that individual may be. It’s based on the collective wisdom, the collective knowledge, the collective work, of all of the scientists who have worked on a particular problem. Scientists have a kind of culture of collective distrust, this “show me” culture, illustrated by this nice woman here showing her colleagues her evidence. Of course, these people don’t
really look like scientists, because they’re much too happy. (Laughter) Okay, so that brings me to my final point. Most of us get up in the morning. Most of us trust our cars. Well, see, now I’m thinking, I’m in Manhattan, this is a bad analogy, but most Americans who don’t live in Manhattan get up in the morning and get in their cars and turn on that ignition, and their cars work, and they work incredibly well. The modern automobile hardly ever breaks down. So why is that? Why do cars work so well? It’s not because of the genius of Henry Ford or Karl Benz or even Elon Musk. It’s because the modern automobile is the product of more than 100 years of work by hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of people. The modern automobile is the product of the collected work and wisdom and experience of every man and woman who has ever worked on a car, and the reliability of the technology is the result of that accumulated effort. We benefit not just from the genius of Benz and Ford and Musk but from the collective intelligence and hard work of all of the people who have worked on the modern car. And the same is true of science, only science is even older. Our basis for trust in science is actually the same as our basis in trust in technology, and the same as our basis for trust in anything, namely, experience. But it shouldn’t be blind trust any more than we would have blind trust in anything. Our trust in science, like science itself, should be based on evidence, and that means that scientists have to become better communicators. They have to explain to us not just what they know but how they know it, and it means that we have
to become better listeners. Thank you very much. (Applause)


  1. Eugene O'Doherty

    August 14, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Good for you Naomi keep up the good work . The world needs more people like you .

  2. Reda Zaki

    August 17, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Thank you so much for this inspirational speech! I enjoyed it a lot as a young scientist 😛

  3. Power Max

    September 18, 2014 at 1:52 am

    No. Trusting a scientist's word is believing that he/she is honest with his/her work, and a believe goes against the fundamental idea of science.

  4. Chris Price

    September 24, 2014 at 3:34 am

    This is the Dear that has enabled the warmist takeover of previously honest science community.  Her survey of warmist acknowledgement in background statements of approx 1000 papers has lead to the conclusion of 97 per cent belief amongst scientists
    without a single proper scientific conclusion in the papers to support it. Of course there will be a few papers that have such conclusions, but that is not the data measured.
    It would be usual to reject papers that did put belief statements as proof, hence the
    sillyness of the whole 97 per cent consensus.

    By the way now the hoards of warmist activists are calling deniers irrational.
    We are now thought criminals.

  5. Chris Price

    September 24, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Good general honesty clauses, except they don't describe the warmist science community we all know.

    When we are called irrational, go ask the activist to explain slowly to a deluded denier where some of the contrarian theories go wrong.
    As an example here how about the sun-spot correlation (not included in her chart)
    wherein its the clouds that are influenced by sun's extended magnetic solar system wide atmosphere.

  6. Chris Price

    September 24, 2014 at 3:56 am

    Also  how do you know you are deling with a scientist or an activist.
    There are too many groups that look quite non-nonbiased to me.
    Ask yourself if they made any sort of doubting noise how long would they
    retain their well-paid position?

  7. Chris Price

    September 24, 2014 at 4:02 am

    Oreskes has to be the most protected warmist shrill out there. Never is she allowed to enter a uncontrolled debating arena. She is the crown jewels of the warmist brigade.
    A true gem.

  8. MrRob1967

    September 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Climate science? You want me to trust James Hansen, Stephen Schneider and Michael Mann. Three men I can prove are liars? This is so ridiculous. How about: Why we should trust Economists. The dismal science uses similar methods. Should I blindly trust the economic consensus. (Well there never is one; anymore than there's one in science!) Vaccines are safe? I have two words for you: Vioxx and Avendia. No not vaccines, but if drug companies are willing to leave drugs on the market too dangerous for clinical use why should I blindly trust vaccine safety when there's been innumerable vaccine disasters that have occurred?

  9. MrRob1967

    September 27, 2014 at 3:42 am

    This woman's face is so homely that she now makes me think E.T. was a plausible portrayal of an alien. Either that or she gave birth to him.

  10. MrRob1967

    September 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Naomi, you're an idiot. There's a difference between trusting the idea of the scientific method and what really happens when humans get together to make decisions. I don't trust or distrust scientists any more or less than, say, historians. That's not the point. When public policy is made that is "informed" by science that's not science, it's public policy. It may be good or bad policy, but it's not science. You call people who question carbon taxes "climate change deniers." That's so idiotic it's beyond belief. People who question useless expensive taxes, which by IPCC estimates, will have no measurable impact are climate deniers? What kind of religion are you into? Do your penance even if it changes nothing.

  11. scottmath23

    October 9, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    for those that aren't aware, the most important critics of a scientist's work are other scientists.  When publishing in a peer-reviewed journal, other scientist try to poke holes in a study… In fact, they are strongly motivated to do this because finding a flaw in someone else's work immediately vaults your prestige in the community of experts and often requires less leg-work than the initial study… A scientists resume can consist mostly of refutations of other people's work… They don't even have to do experiments if they can logically find a flaw in someone else's work…

    Don't listen to politicians or celebrities when they criticize scientific studies, they don't have the tools necessary to adequately do so… Look for critics within the scientific community, they're just as motivated to disprove someone's hypothesis and they are actually intellectually capable.

    The nice thing about peer-reviewed studies is that you can take the funding motivation out of the equation… When people question the validity of the study because the scientist could be motivated by retaining their research grants, they completely ignore the fact that there are dozens if not hundreds of other scientists who want that same grant, and the easiest way to put themselves in position to get a piece of the pie is to show how someone currently receiving funding doesn't deserve that funding because their methods are flawed.

  12. Cure4Living

    October 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Pretty good explanation of science its flaws and strengths, without going into the fun fun philosophy.

  13. zombie zealot

    December 15, 2014 at 2:04 am

    TED Talk comment debates are so hot they're heating up the environment!

  14. Michael Taylor

    December 16, 2014 at 2:08 am

    This might be one of those videos that should require a college education. If you don't believe in science, then how do you explain all of the technology that has spawned from science? It would be just like saying that you don't believe that airplanes fly, or that the internet works.

  15. Spencer Geller

    January 5, 2015 at 3:23 am

    …When did this comment section turn into political guerrilla warfare? Isn't this about why or why not scientist should be counted on for data for the natural and physical world? I mean, most people coming for a political debate about God don't have a clue about what they're debating and hardcore atheists just can't accept that, while the things other people say may sound silly, it's just their way of coping.

  16. 7munkee

    February 15, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Global warming?  So far Jan/feb 2015 has been the coldest months in 40 years here on the east coast. Ask Boston, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland….Etc.

  17. Washington Strong arm

    March 4, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Global warming is a lie , it is freezing and heavy snow from were I stand.

  18. Henry Jeter

    March 15, 2015 at 12:32 am

    Climate change is a definite!!! If you believe otherwise I say stay quiet so as not to show the world you are stupid!!! The debate is not Climate change but how much us humans have contributed and how we have contributed?

  19. J Rocha

    April 7, 2015 at 1:14 am

    How can you develop a healthy skepticism ?

  20. Theo-168

    August 12, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Naomi is very good at building and supporting her strawman.
    – Skeptics agree the earth is warming and man is contributing, they just dispute the degree attributable to man.
    – There are plenty of qualified scientists within the field that argue a low CO2 climate sensitivity
    – She butchered Pascal's Wager.  Pascal argued 'belief' in God was effectively free, while 'belief' in CAGW comes with a very steep price tag to society.
    – Her most egregious error was to exclude all evidence after 1990 from her chart, where the models are not validated by actual measurement.

  21. peter germain

    December 18, 2015 at 2:57 am

    the ipcc says malaria is tropical , and it will spread due to climate change
    google ", dengue and other infectious diseases "
    ,,that's not what is written on the national institute of health. gogle "nih epidemic malaria; an indoor disease in northern Europe. Historical data analyzed" out breaks in the 1800's .

  22. volvol1

    January 9, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I was NOT impressed with this lecture, and think the lecture was horribly misnamed (i.e. "why we trust scientists").  As I understand it there are multiple ways scientists go about trying to test theories and "prove propositions" — they are NOT limited to the so-called "textbook" method.  A theory if often not necessarily proved by a single test by a single scientist. Rather, as I understand it, ALL scientific knowledge is understood to be PROVISIONAL — and thus subject to rejection or revision or amendment if further tests, experiments, experience, etc. show / suggest that it is WRONG or incomplete.  This provisional acceptance of science (and not scientists) is because generally the process — over time — has been found to be the BEST method of discovering how things work or why they work.  Thus confirmation over time gives a person confidence in thinking that a theory is at worst very likely to be true.

  23. usethebrains godgiveyou

    May 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Pascal left "Science and rationalism behind." (Cough, cough…) So, that is why he is known as a preacher today, instead of a scientist.

  24. MrRob1967

    October 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    As far as trusting experts Naomi should go to a well-regarded fashion consultant and plastic surgeon.

  25. ZuRriX

    January 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Man, this woman is amazing.

  26. Gerald Spezio

    January 23, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Science; No lying, no cheating, no nonsense.

  27. Dr Maths Physics

    April 21, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I'm disappointed in this talk. Although I agree with her conclusions, the parts leading up to it essentially contradict them. She criticises the Scientific Method but only talks about half of it. The other half is the re-testing and refining of theories. The Scientific Method is an ongoing process. As a historian of science she really should have included that aspect. And making a sweeping statement like E=mc² is wrong . . . where's her citation for that? The only people who think its wrong are pseudo-scientists. It is not complete but if anyone can give me evidence of it being completely wrong, I'd love to see it.

  28. Iggy Harl

    July 20, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I'm an atheist and don't believe in a God but I wouldn't argue that pascal left reasoning and rationalism behind. In a way he was the most rational

  29. Max Doubt

    December 30, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Take a heat lamp. Take an infra-red camera. Put a glass tube between the camera and the lamp. The camera sees the infra-red light just fine. Now fill the tube with CO2. The light disappears. Ohhh…SCIENCE. But it ain't rocket science!

  30. Max Doubt

    December 31, 2017 at 2:05 am

    I trust scientists because they love to poke holes in each others' theories. But sometimes they can't.

  31. richard ouvrier

    February 9, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    She looks like a nasty Jewess.

  32. Michael cee

    February 21, 2018 at 6:57 am

    naomi, one should trust science, but one should not trust scientists. scientists get paid exactly like politicians. interpretation

  33. Darkerce

    February 26, 2018 at 2:26 am

    You should trust the more smarter (and superior) people (like me) because they trust YOU! It’s been scientifically proven that smarter people trust others more than the average person…

  34. Critical Thinker

    March 5, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Don’t trust scientists, trust data. Many scientists, scientific papers, academic institutions etc are industry funded (usually by the petroleum/petrochemical industry). And you should especially distrust people like this woman who tell you to blindly trust these people!

  35. Fabrizio Sabattoli

    April 12, 2018 at 12:01 pm


  36. Fabrizio Sabattoli

    April 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    compañeros alguien esta prestando atencion al vidio?

  37. Fabrizio Sabattoli

    April 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm


  38. Ron Ricard

    April 18, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Notice in regard to AGW , she speaks of "THE science". It has become.a religion for the alarmists. No sceptical hypotheses allowed in their Canon.

  39. Rizal Malawi

    May 8, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Interesting !

  40. etyrnal

    May 19, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    First question is, science is not about trust, why should we trust scientists? Trust suggests faithful believe without questioning, which is basically the exact opposite of what science is. Second when we promote positions of pure trust, we create a perfect ecosystem for crime to occur. When we promote the idea that a person or group should just be unquestioningly trusted, where suggestion that they can never be questioned. Any group or individual or entity that has the magical privilege of being unquestionable will inevitably lead to corruption. Science has nothing at all to do with trust. It's all questionable and it's all provable or disprovable. Beware of people that suggest you should just trust without question. That idea is reserved for religions, and tyrants.

  41. Michael cee

    May 21, 2018 at 6:42 am

    ok let us get this straight. we can trust science, of course. trusting scientists is another thing. in general they do not deserve our trust. how may i count the ways?

  42. Michael cee

    May 21, 2018 at 6:47 am

    of course science is true neil. but can i trust the scientist who is interpreting that science ? maybe. maybe not.

  43. Alan Holt

    May 27, 2018 at 3:00 am

    How can you trust scientists when they keep getting caught lying.

  44. Monaim Hatri

    July 3, 2018 at 6:55 pm


  45. m

    August 29, 2018 at 8:56 am

    That's exactly what I'd expect a scientist to say

  46. xkguy

    September 25, 2018 at 3:07 am

    Are we to believe scientists or science….or the product of scientific thought….
    Pascal's Wager is bogus….make the alternative outcome bad enough and the pressure to choose the 'desired' outcome becomes the only rational choice.

  47. xkguy

    September 25, 2018 at 3:26 am

    Consensus is a great danger in science. Tony Heller has a great YT piece on this. One quote is: consensus is what we agree to believe as a group what no individual actually believes. Skepticism is the key. If/when we agree we have found an ultimate answer we have accepted that no further progress is possible. I don't believe that.

  48. G Curious

    October 31, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Straw man argument. Twisted discussion to fool lay people. Wow!! Only for people with room-temperature IQ.

  49. Glenn Howden

    November 9, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Science progresses in spite of scientists. Scientists have a long history of being wrong, but the scientific method keeps them relatively honest and bogus ideas die out when arrogant scientists die.

  50. Marian B.

    December 17, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    I don't understand the choice of this video's title "Naomi Oreskes. Why we should trust scientists." It's not what she suggests. She chose a different subject: how science is conducted by human beings and therefore not neutral in the results of research. Not objective either (deliberate twists of data and conclusions) And she suggests that scientists are in need of communicating better and us in need of listening better. As long as human beings practice scientific research, it will be defined subjectively.

  51. D800Lover

    December 17, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    I generally have no problem trusting science. It doesn't get everything right like most of as humans makes mistakes. Certainly when it comes to climate science, it generally works well and a consensus has been formed, I am on-board with that. The evidence of discernible human influence cannot be ignored. But…

    I am not so comfortable with the emergence of a 'retail' science and the 'lab coat' pristine clean science that is now often preached, much of it echoed by those who do not know that much about science, they don't even personally know a scientist that they can sit down talk in quiet moment over a glass of wine. Tyson saying "The good things about science is that it is true whether or not you believe in it" can easily be misused, but it presupposes something that Tyson did not say. There are still things that are in a state of flux where we cannot yet say whether it is true. I think it is true about climate science. But Climate Gate revealed that behind the scenes science can be a battlefield and not as sterilised as many think. And I don't necessarily disagree with that, have been involved in some of these battles myself because science is the pursuit of knowledge, a battlefield of ideas. In other words, the process of science can be less linear and even messy. And I have not beef with that.

    Now comes to one branch of science that worries me a lot, that of natural sciences. Because of the past role of religion and the dark history of it and superstition, the natural sciences have been getting away with things that other branches of sciences have not. So Oreskes making an equivalence with neo-Darwinian evolution does not sit well with me. But I do understand why this 'science' has developed this way and that the underlying culprit has been bad religion and it has left a psychological imprint. But reading Rose, Venter, Gould and Milton, neo-Darwinism and the "tree of life" is slowly being buried behind the scenes and most just don't know about it. As Venter said, maybe it is a "bush of life" and that is another idea to be tested. But not all DNA based lifeforms subscribe to a "tree of life" and eventually that will tell.

  52. VidPro Surabaya

    February 3, 2019 at 2:55 am

    This video needs more views. Or more people should view this video.

  53. abdul haseeb

    February 13, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    “God is the the creator of everything”-Haseeb

  54. Jimbo Dunn

    March 19, 2019 at 1:14 am

    Man I got into a discussion about
    The subject is dear to my heart
    Anyway I got 227 comments
    200 likes from people who agreed
    With me.
    Which my son's girl friend was amazed at.
    ' I can't believe that 200 people agreed with you'

  55. Harold McBroom

    April 16, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Why should WE trust those who tell us whom we SHOULD trust, when they hardly speak out against those we should NOT trust!

  56. robert hicks

    June 9, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Naomi Oreskes is the perfect example of why we should not simply trust scientist. She created one of the first "polls" that came  up with the 97% consensus and anyone that understands science, knows what she did was a crime against science.

  57. jim rogers

    June 9, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    The title of this talk is a contradiction. A real scientist (not just somebody with that label) would never ask or demand trust. It is the antithesis of Science. This talk is one hypocritical contradiction after another. It's an embarassment. The very crux of her argument is dismissed with a joke: trust them ..they're .."geeks!". Are people so brainwashed that they accept this utter stupidity just because she is labeled "smart"?

  58. Joe Ho

    June 14, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Science, scientist, academic, universities, and TED as well, lost their credibility and trust with this video

  59. Sam Bertram

    August 4, 2019 at 8:38 am

    forced to watch this for uni. rip

  60. xuxa329598

    August 15, 2019 at 3:57 am

    Watch the documentary merchants of doubt. The same speaker applies the ideas of this talk on controversial topics such as tobacco and global warming. Worth it.

  61. Brooke Ann

    September 5, 2019 at 2:15 am

    who else is watching this because your teacher told u to?

  62. R Rn

    September 5, 2019 at 2:46 am

    It's difficult for me to truly believe in a science professor these days. He may very well know the truth of the science on a subject yet I believe we're lectured on what the person paying him wants us to believe. Very sad for us. Very sad for the professor.

  63. Theseustoo Astyages

    September 19, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Trust scientists? Okay… which ones? There are scientists who are arguing BOTH sides of the 'climate change' debate, among others… So which 'scientists' should we believe?

    I reckon we should TRUST NO-ONE! And check the data! And that data should include the bank-balance of scientists, and who pays them to say what…

  64. waxed link

    September 20, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Between politicians, scientists, corporate and religious leaders, one group stand head and shoulders above the others for trustworthiness…scientists! (Admittedly that's a pretty low bar to exceed!) This is very worrying when it comes to the message we are being told by them about climate change. What the others say about it is usually BS with few exceptions.

  65. dastutweh

    October 4, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Dear Mrs. Oreskes, You said (at position 12:50):
    "we know that greenhouse gases are a major part of the reason why (the temperature increased over the last 50 years)",
    because (at position 12:30):
    "the only way You can reproduce the observed tempeature measurements with all these things (different factors) put together (into a computer simulation), and the increases in greenhouse tracks this very dramatic increase in temperature over the last 50 years".
    So Your main argument is the eminent correspondence between the increase of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the increase of the temperature. In fact the predictions of the computer simulations fit very well with the observed temperature measurements over the last 50 years.
    But this argument seems to be the same argument, that convinced most astronomers for more than 1000 years to believe in the correctness of the ptolematic system. With Your words: (at position 6:00):
    "The ptolematic model (of the planetary system) made lots of predictions that came true. The ptolematic system enabled astronomers to make accurate predictions of the motions of the planets".
    Therefore I agree with Your statement (in minute 5:30): "False theories can make true predictions". The seemingly correlation between the increase of greenhouse gases and the increase of temperature over the last 50 years is solitarily not sufficient to convince me that the increase of greenhouse gases causally determined the increase of temperature.
    By all means I'm afraid and angry about the pollution of air, water and soil and all of our natural ressources by our way of devastating producing and consuming in the developed countries. We have to stop this as soon as possible.

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