Science and Society
This chapter examines the relationship between science and society, paying special attention to the epistemological and ethical implications that ensue from the public’s necessary reliance on trust in scientists who claim to have empirical knowledge. Recent revelations of inaccurate, nonreplicable, and even fraudulent eyewitness testimonies of empirical outcomes by scientists coupled with a growing tendency among some factions of society to deny scientific claims or to embrace science’s discredited claims have strained the trust between science and society. Many scientists believe that increased STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education will ameliorate this concern. However, this chapter suggests that a more radical approach is needed. A reformation of science education is called for, not unlike Martin Luther’s religious reformation that endeavored to create a biblically educated laity that would be more capable of critical reflection on the truth claims of the dominant cultural authority of the time. This chapter asserts that theoretical and philosophical psychologists are particularly well positioned to take the lead in this science education reformation and should endeavor to educate and train teachers and scientists to think critically about the assumptions of psychological science.