Yes and no.Spiny Norman wrote:But it is possible to educate yourself about science, and the better you understand it the better placed you are to objectively assess the "claims" that scientists make.
Sure, I can educate myself, I can develop critical thinking about scientific claims -- but as a lay person, my opinion counts for nothing to scientists.
One can learn all kinds of things about jet engines -- but if one never actually works on jet engines in any way, all that knowledge is rather useless.
It's similar with science: I can learn all kinds of science (as much as my means permit me), but unless I actually begin to work as a scientist or some such, all that knowledge is useless for me (or is useful only accidentally!).
Moreover, much of science deals with things that are completely irrelevant to me, or are external to me.
For example, what use is the Theory of Evolution (TOE)? For someone like me, understanding the TOE and agreeing with it is relevant only in a social sense -- in that if I affirm the TOE, certain people will think positively about me. The aim for knowing much science is for many people actually primarily achieving a certain social status and reputation (and has nothing to do with the actual content of the scientific claims).
Religious scholars tend to disagree with that assessment.The same is not true of religious claims, you usually end up wading through a load of convoluted theology which goes nowhere.
Scientists find use in scientific theories; religious scholars find use in studying religious claims. An ordinary person doesn't have much use of either.