an excellent and thorough piece- What is “Science” from the blog The Arts Mechanical– it is rich with references and worth reading all the links embedded in the article.
That’s the problem with corrupting science by using it to drive an agenda. That’s especially true when you muddy the water with unfalsifiable claims and name calling. You don’t have a leg to stand on when you get caught out and so you don’t have any choice but to escalate the language. which is how you get the “death trains,” “working big oil” and “deniers should be prosecuted/oppressed/executed” language.
The problem with the scientist as prophet scenario is that science is ultimately about discovery, not prediction. So when you treat science like a religion you are no longer dealing with discovery of what is, you are preaching what you want things to be. That’s not science, it’s using the appearance of science to legitimize your agenda.
So how do you tell real science from hokum. Simple, you don’t allow anybody to keep you from asking questions. Look, I’ve asked crazy physics questions of Nobel Prize winners. And got answers. If instead of answers you get bullying and scare tactics, then what you are dealing with isn’t science, regardless of the numbers of people wrapping themselves in authority and other logical fallacies.