In science, citation bias, diversion, and invention can result in a hypothesis becoming ‘established fact’, not on the basis of actual data, but of an information cascade of citations biased against negative results.
Most people do not apply the same critical thinking skills and healthy skepticism to scientific publications that they do to political, historical and religious claims. This naive faith in peer-reviewed, scientific publications may be a mistake.
Many people never think of applying their critical thinking skills when it comes to scientific claims. Unfortunately, 21st century science has become a mix of good science, bad science, creative story-telling, science fiction, scientism (atheism dressed up as science), citation-bias, huge media announcements followed by quiet retractions, massaging the data, exaggeration for funding purposes, and outright fraud. It is therefore important to distinguish between good science and rubbish dressed up as science.
When I was asked recently about how I viewed the world, I realized that I had never sat down to think about how I would articulate my own epistemology, that is, the framework within which I can know things and justify my beliefs. After a few weeks of contemplation, here is my first attempt to lay out the starting points from which I view the world and form my beliefs.
The probability of the origin of life arising by chance is so small, we should not expect it to occur anywhere in the universe before the last star burns out. Here is a way of estimating that probability.