Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me the following article in which the author criticizes the new series of the general science authors. Just to briefly summarize, the article compares the attitude of the early scientists of 20th centuries with the recent ones toward the general public. Through some examples, the author explains how scientists previously kept their yet unproven ideas limited to the scientific communities until they are proven experimentally. Whereas the current scientists write general science books in which they mumble a list of unproven ideas and hypothesis under the name of science.
I read the article and the commentary by the viewers, and I felt that the main message of the article was missed. Although I believe in free speech, particularly in the realm of science, I agree with the author of the article that what distinguishes science from psuedo-science is experimentation. Thus, the physical theories before they are proven experimentally have no scientific value. Hence, writing something which is far from any experimental proof under the name of “general science” is not only wrong, but also dangerous, as it was the main emphasis of the article.
Being a theoretical physicist myself, what I see from the general public is that they are more exposed to the psuedo-physics, or hollywood physics rather than the real physics. I feel that the “general science” writers, such as those mentioned in the main article, are trying to be more user-friendly rather than scientific at all. This is very similar to what politicians are doing, and I would call such behaviour as a scientific populism. In short, it is expected that the general science materials convey the (experimentally proven) scientific ideas in a way that is understandable to the non-scientists.