One type is the politician, who tells us “this is what is best”. The redeeming feature here is that politicians often contradict one another, so a healthy and educational discourse can ensue if we will just pay attention and sort facts out of the exchanges of verbal artillery. Two opposing politicians each tell us the other is just flat wrong, and we get to sort it out for ourselves.
The far more dangerous fellow is the scientist, who tells us “this is utter inarguable fact” and “here is what must be done about it”. This fellow then conflates his empirical fact (or his approximation thereof) with his conclusions and cannot sort these apart any more than he can sort out the salt he accidentally dropped in the sugar bowl. Today, I listened to reports about how science has been telling us to prevent fires in our forests when at all possible…until now, when different scientists announce the conclusion that the resulting unchecked undergrowth is currently fueling wildfires of incredible dimension. So, the news report said, in essence, “We thought we were right, but now that the whole thing has blown up in our faces, perhaps we were wrong all along.” In the very same report, these same scientists insisted that today’s wildfires are the result of global warming. How long will it take them to back away from their position this time? What foolishness will we undertake before the next “oops”?
The scientific community is more dangerous than the political community because if you disagree with them, you are not thus merely wrong, but an ill-educated superstitious savage to boot. Non-conformity is considered proof that you are not intelligent enough to contribute to the discourse. There is only one prevailing view allowed at a time, riding its popularity until it is brought crashing down by the next observation which proves things to be different. What science tells us is the not-to-be-questioned truth. Until it’s not. Science builds its cities upon the ashen ruins of the cities come before, but refuses to look at the history under its feet to instruct its further efforts.