If you’ve tuned into the daily news cycle during the coronavirus pandemic, you probably noticed circumstances where scientists seemed reluctant to share information, debated the latest research on social media or downright changed their views.
In our culture, we often hold politicians, corporate executives and other leaders accountable for the consistency of their positions. In political debates, candidates will often point out on the debate stage that a rival swung to the left or right over a controversial issue. It suggests a lack of authenticity, or even careerism, and indicates that they can’t be trusted to do what’s right for their constituents.
In the scientific world, it’s expected that even the highest-ranking academics will evolve their thinking — and many have done so during this Covid-19 pandemic.
But some scientists fear that the public doesn’t understand this, and is losing faith in scientists who change their minds. And that’s having real consequences on the front lines.
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