Why is science a target for mindless mockery?

If I say something you don’t like, I hope that you’ll be civil enough to engage the point of disagreement directly, without undue derision or invective. You would be right to expect the same graciousness from me.

But that isn’t always what happens when science encounters resistance from an audience that is, for one reason or another, biased against it.

My observations are prompted by a dispiriting, if unsurprising, reaction in the online version of the local broadsheet daily to Nature‘s publication of an article titled “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosystem” (Nature, June 6, 2012).

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