What is it about giving an interview that encourages some people – not you, obviously – to pretend to know it all?
An article appeared recently in Wired: Wired Science by Alexis Madrigal, reporting on results published by longtime taste researcher Charles Zuker, now at Columbia University Medical Center.
It’s a jolly little story about why mice like Coca Cola, but when you strip away the hype and the pretty chromatographs, the argument runs something like this:
“Hey, we’ve discovered that mammals have developed an excellent ability to detect carbon dioxide!”
“Oh, really. And how would that be an evolutionary benefit?”
“Well, it could be for this reason…”
“Yes, and it could be for that reason… Or another one, couldn’t it?”
“Yes, but we think it’s this one”
“Glad that’s settled, then”
Now, why do you suppose scientists are reluctant to say, “We don’t know” in these circumstances? Such frankness would give a great deal of credibility in the eyes of the general public, although it might conceivably detract from the air of mystery and infallibility that surrounds the learned ones.
Ah. Have I just answered my own question?
Well, you should be the judge of that. Check out the original article here http://www.wired.com
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