Having floated the problem of legitimate authority the other day, it is worth considering some of the things that make an authority legitimate. And in that regard, few things in the world are supposed to occupy the role of legitimate authority to the extent that science does. So what is science, and what lends it the weight we justifiably give it?
Well, the first and most important thing to recognize is that science is not a body of pronouncements nor a collection of “facts”; rather, it is a self-correcting method of inquiry. From the foregoing, we can see that, qua “method of inquiry,” science is essentially a process, not a product. And qua “self-correcting,” we can see that the process is one of constant test and re-examination where previous conclusions are themselves treated as only provisional and subjected to renewed critique and inquiry.