|Fine, but should they?|
For example the mission statement of The Richard Dawkins Foundation states: Our mission is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and human suffering. (Of course, this means overcoming intolerance of good people. Bad people, for example someone like myself who gives his children a religious education should not be tolerated. Obviously.)
However how solid is science?
Here are 5 retracted science studies from 2012:
Korean scientist Hyung-In Moon took the concept of scientific peer review to a whole new level by reviewing his own papers under various fake names.
Computers and Mathematics with Applications published a one-page article entitled "A computer application in mathematics" by the perhaps fictitious M. Sivasubramanian and S. Kalimuthu. It was actually a spoof, unnoticed by the journal's editors.
The Dutch social psychologist Diederik Stapel has pondered some deep questions. His research has found that, paradoxically: failure sometimes feels better than success; beauty ads make women feel ugly; power increases infidelity among men and women; and comparing yourself to others might help you persevere with studying or dieting but ultimately won't make you happier. The only problem is that his research appears to be either mostly or completely fabricated.
In 2008, scientists published a paper in the International Journal of Andrology stating that cellphones in standby mode lowered the sperm count and caused other adverse changes in the testicles of rabbits. In March 2012, the authors retracted the paper. It seems the lead author didn't get permission from his two co-authors and, according to the retraction notice, there was a "lack of evidence to justify the accuracy of the data presented in the article." The lead author lifted data and figures from his two previously published papers that doom rabbits and their sperm. But alas, one of those papers also was retracted this year and the other soon will be.
In early October Hisashi Moriguchi, a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo, claimed at a New York Stem Cell Foundation meeting to have advanced this technology to cure a person with terminal heart failure. However, two institutions listed as collaborating on Moriguchi's related papers — Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital — denied that any of Moriguchi's procedures took place there. By Oct. 19, the University of Tokyo fired Moriguchi for scientific dishonesty even as the investigation was just getting underway.
As in any other human endeavor, when it comes to science, "Trust, but verify".