Science is an especially sweet and nutritious fruit of the Enlightenment. But an even sweeter and more nutritious fruit is the recognition that truth – including, but not limited to, scientific truth – is only reliably approached without ever being absolutely and forever secured, and approached only through open inquiry, discussion, debate, and tolerance for dissenting opinions and perspectives.
Too many elite intellectuals and public officials today – and, I fear, also too many ordinary men and women – have lost sight of the fact that science and reason are tools for improving our understanding and for supplying us with some information that’s useful for making the complicated and inescapably value-laden trade-offs that, in this vale, we must make. The belief that science is a source of complete and godlike knowledge is not merely mistaken, it’s a toxic fuel of authoritarianism when it’s combined with the false understanding of social problems as being a science project to be ‘solved’ by persons in power.
-Steven Koonin, as culled from here