When selling popular science, relativity theory is presented as weird, the quantum as unfathomable, inflation is ghostly, faster than light. Prominent scientists justify this self important glamorization. They claim it arouses the interest in science.
I believe it back-fires. It promotes esoteric mystery, the opposite of science. It promotes belief in authority, the enemy of science. They effectively say: look kid, it is too difficult for you, but see, I understand, and so you just follow my opinion, and this is nevertheless called critical thinking and skepticism because you follow what we determine to be science.
That such an attitude is counterproductive does not stop with the kids and wider lay public. The subject of cosmic inflation is just one example, but a good one: many reject inflation as too weird and still confuse the Big Bang with some sort of mystical beginning in spite of all the books and articles written about the subject! Or is it because of all the popular books written about the subject?
I started my blog with the boring universe and continued the “slow inflation trilogy” here and here, because it introduces a sober perspective. From a sober point of view, there is no doubt that inflation and cosmic expansion generally are consistent with particle physics. Inflation is painfully slow. There is plenty of time for micro physical processes. When modeled by strings watching paint dry, the question of whether inflation rips strings to shreds or whether it is faster than light would never occur to anybody. No need to reject inflation on grounds of being too crazy.
Of course, you cannot sell books like this, you cannot claim that new physics needs crazy ideas and imply thereby that you are the one that transcends genius by working on the crazy stuff.
So this is how I see science and how I explain it:
1) In the terms appropriate for the system at hand, so that
2) the esoteric, the paradoxes, the quantum mysteries, they never appear in the first place, so that
3) we are not held up by misleading questions, and this means that
4) we can make progress and
5) science is not just another religion.
Maybe a sober, rational perspective can slow down the future in which evolution of super-structure may ensure the dark ages in blinding light. The dark you may try to illuminate, but gleaming light blinds irreparably. If you oppose pseudo-science; you should oppose naïve scientism.
Whistle blowing is why I am and will stay a nobody. Nobody likes a traitor. I criticize the new skeptics “war against ...”, the polarizing esoteric bashing in many “science blogs”, the publish or perish culture, the current system of peer review, the amazing amount of bullshit that is thus published, the numbers of morons getting nourishment in academia while bright young people that are selected out of it at every level, all these that destroy good science.