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Monday, October 28, 2013

"Science has lost its way"

At this rate, the science fetishists who lob accusations of "anti-science" at everyone who notices the dishonesty, fraud, and shameless rent-seeking in modern professional science are going to find themselves at war with the entire world. One can hardly describe the Los Angeles Times as an organization of Bible-thumping Republicans who hate science because they believe humans rode dinosaurs.
In today's world, brimful as it is with opinion and falsehoods masquerading as facts, you'd think the one place you can depend on for verifiable facts is science.

You'd be wrong. Many billions of dollars' worth of wrong.

A few years ago, scientists at the Thousand Oaks biotech firm Amgen set out to double-check the results of 53 landmark papers in their fields of cancer research and blood biology.The idea was to make sure that research on which Amgen was spending millions of development dollars still held up. They figured that a few of the studies would fail the test — that the original results couldn't be reproduced because the findings were especially novel or described fresh therapeutic approaches.

But what they found was startling: Of the 53 landmark papers, only six could be proved valid.

Unfortunately, it wasn't unique. A group at Bayer HealthCare in Germany similarly found that only 25% of published papers on which it was basing R&D projects could be validated, suggesting that projects in which the firm had sunk huge resources should be abandoned. Whole fields of research, including some in which patients were already participating in clinical trials, are based on science that hasn't been, and possibly can't be, validated.
Remember this the next time someone tries to claim there is "no evidence" because the evidence isn't scientific. Because, based on the ACTUAL DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE presented here, published, peer-reviewed science has between a 75 percent and an 89 percent chance of being FACTUALLY FALSE.

In addition to making it clear that science is not even a serious contender for being a means of determining the truth, this also explodes what I have repeatedly pointed out concerning the myth of science being self-correcting. The more scientists pout and cry about criticism rather than getting their house in order, the more people will come to understand that they are little more than a professional union attempting to coast on the achievements of their predecessors.

Labels:

192 Comments:

Anonymous Noah B. October 28, 2013 4:05 PM  

Isn't this the same paper that just announced they won't publish letters from global warming skeptics?

Anonymous DrTorch October 28, 2013 4:16 PM  

Good, this won't be off topic (much).

Last week was in another discussion about how important evolution is in the grand scheme of science. Of course I was told it was crucial and that all the prisone...students in public schools MUST learn it, because illiteracy.

Anyway, the statement was made, "If it's not the number one advancement in scientific thought, it's top three."

I disagreed, noting that animals had been bred for characteristics for millennia. I posed the following as superior to evolution in advancing scientific thought:

"Newtonian mechanics
Galileo using empiricism and tossing out the Aristotelian rubbish of conjecture
Mendel's heredity laws
Modern atomic theory
E=mc^2
Quantum theory
Maxwell's E-M laws
Germ theory of disease

Geologists would likely want a couple of theirs thrown in (plate tectonics and plutonism) but I'm not sure they're important in the big scientific picture.

Also, if you define computer science as a science (and not math or engineering) there were some profound advances there too. "

The more I think about it, the more I believe that some advances in information theory (perhaps computer science) most certainly qualify as advancing scientific thought, but I'm not proficient in this area to.

I also think Stickwick's comment some weeks back, on time being viewed as linear instead of circular, could make this list.

That being said, would people here say the list holds up? Is it missing some critical elements? Does it push evolution out of the top 10?

Anonymous Pox Vay October 28, 2013 4:20 PM  

And again we see that Vox lacks a basic understanding of science. What you're seeing here is science in progress. Science growing, evolving, paradigms shifting, being confirmed and/or denied. This is how science works and is the only way to determine the truth.

Anonymous VD October 28, 2013 4:26 PM  

And again we see that Vox lacks a basic understanding of science. What you're seeing here is science in progress. Science growing, evolving, paradigms shifting, being confirmed and/or denied. This is how science works and is the only way to determine the truth.

That's not what this shows at all. This shows that MOST published science is fraudulent. It is most certainly not the only way to determine the truth; most truths are not even discernible by this method.

Answer this question: How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?

Anonymous Feh October 28, 2013 4:27 PM  

In addition to making it clear that science is not even a serious contender for being a means of determining the truth, this also explodes what I have repeatedly pointed out concerning the myth of science being self-correcting. The more scientists pout and cry about criticism rather than getting their house in order, the more people will come to understand that they are little more than a professional union attempting to coast on the achievements of their predecessors.

Science is a means for telling the truth.

Science is self-correcting.

BUT

What millions of so-called scientists are actually doing is not science.

(Dumbass Pox Vay thinks that NOT VALIDATING RESULTS is "science in progress" and "how science works" -- LMAO. Is Pox Vay really that stupid?)

Blogger Alexander Thompson October 28, 2013 4:29 PM  

But Vox you fool, don't you see? The research never matter. The billions upon billions spent mean nothing. It's all about making people aware. You can't make people aware if you cure the disease?

Blogger Giraffe October 28, 2013 4:32 PM  

I thought science could only disprove; never prove. How does one determine truth if you can't prove anything?

Anonymous Robert Wilson October 28, 2013 4:35 PM  

To the contrary, these inaccuracies are being discovered AFTER other people have already relied on them while spending significant sums of money.

That's like claiming that Ponzi schemes are "self correcting" because eventually people figure out the scam.

Furthermore, your position is itself unfalsifiable. If this fraud had not been discovered, you would claim that this proves the reliability of the results. Instead, you are claiming that this high of a failure rate is proof of... what? "Eventually we'll get things right if you waste enough money double checking our results."

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 28, 2013 4:36 PM  

Answer this question: How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?

How do we know that the whole record is nothing more than a fable? I mean, the entire historical record could have been nothing more than propaganda in order to get the Roman citizenry to accept the rule of an Emperor. Brutus could have been a man who just simply wanted to preserve the Republic, if he even existed at all.

Anonymous VD October 28, 2013 4:51 PM  

Is Pox Vay really that stupid?

Based on the historical documentary evidence, yes. However, we can't possibly say one way or the other, since we are reliably informed that science "is the only way to determine the truth" and no scientists have yet published a professional, peer-reviewed determination of the precise level of Pox's stupidity.

I guess we'll never truly know....

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn October 28, 2013 4:52 PM  

What you're seeing here is science in progress. Science growing, evolving, paradigms shifting, being confirmed and/or denied.

I am truly a man of science.

Anonymous Krul October 28, 2013 4:53 PM  

Re: DrTorch,

It depends on what you mean by "scientific advancement". What counts? Discoveries? Theories? Inventions?

In any case, I would definitely include Hans Oersted's experiment in which a wire carrying an electric current was shown to deflect a compass needle. This proved that electricity was related to magnetism, and lead to inventions such as the electric generator and electric motor. The immense importance of this experimental result is obvious.

There's also Wilhelm Roentgen's discovery of X-rays, which led to the field of radiological medicine as well as modern quantum physics.

Then there's James Clerk Maxwell who predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves and Heinrich Hertz who confirmed Maxwell's predictions by building apparatus to send and receive wireless electromagnetic signals - radio.

Dimitri Mendeleev's early Periodic Table of the elements correctly predicted the existence and characteristics of several elements that have since been discovered and added to the table. The Periodic Table is a scientific masterpiece that has undoubtedly resulted in incalculable benefit to our understanding both of chemistry and of atomic physics.

Anonymous Will Best October 28, 2013 4:53 PM  

It has been mentioned that the reason is that journals (aka gatekeepers) don't care about verification studies, and only care about the new with the bolder being better. Between that and the pressure to publish the result has been a lot of garbage which nobody can verify.

I find it fascinating that this could be blamed as a cause in 2013. It would seem the very first group that would be interested in casting off the gatekeepers would be academics. And really considering the main reason for publishing in scientific literature is attribution, it matters not if it first appeared in Science or Wikipedia.

And then there is from a practical standpoint a massive need for a fully integrated and searchable database of all scientific literature, with a Wikipedia style editing system allowing for additional. So it is surprising that it hasn't been created yet.

Blogger RobertT October 28, 2013 4:58 PM  

This stuff warms my heart.

Anonymous Lord Abacus October 28, 2013 5:02 PM  

Vox, if science is by definition so utterly unreliable, how do we know we can trust the findings of the Amgen and Bayer scientists who conducted these studies? Two studies give us statistically significant evidence to say 75-89% of published findings are "FACTUALLY FALSE"? Your normally precise scientody-scientistry distinction appears a bit murky in this analysis.

Anonymous Jimmy October 28, 2013 5:05 PM  

"Vox, if science is by definition so utterly unreliable..." <-- Reading comprehension fail.

Anonymous Lord Abacus October 28, 2013 5:10 PM  

Jimmy, "not even a serious contender for being a means of determining the truth" = unreliable.

Anonymous WinstonWebb October 28, 2013 5:11 PM  

semi-OT:
Apparently the science is decided about fetal pain as well. I am so outnumbered in the comments section, it's truly ridiculous.

Blogger Giraffe October 28, 2013 5:15 PM  

No Einstein, Dr. Torch?

He at least produced something useful for society. Stickwick pointed out GPS wouldn't work without correcting for relativistic effects.

Not sure what use evolution is for society, but it definitely doesn't rank high.

Biology pales in comparison to chemistry and physics as far as what it has done for society.

Anonymous Pox Vay October 28, 2013 5:22 PM  

"That's not what this shows at all. This shows that MOST published science is fraudulent. It is most certainly not the only way to determine the truth; most truths are not even discernible by this method.

Answer this question:How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?"

Wow, talk about moving the goal post. "Fraudulent" is wishful thinking on your part. Published results are meant to be peer-reviewed. Again, this is how science works. It doesn't mean that something published in a journal is being universally verified as correct. It means that it's a candidate for verification.

As for your latter question, you should ask a historical scientist.

Blogger IM2L844 October 28, 2013 5:23 PM  

I thought science could only disprove; never prove.

Tell that to the SETI@home bunch at the liberal atheist science fetishist stronghold of U.C. Berkeley busily keeping the faith.

Anonymous David October 28, 2013 5:25 PM  

If only kilo papa were here to raise the morale of the scientists with a rallying cry of praising Jesus and/or global warming...or...something.

Anonymous Josh October 28, 2013 5:26 PM  

As for your latter question, you should ask a historical scientist.

There is no scientific evidence that brutus stabbed Caesar.

There is no scientific evidence that brutus or Caesar even existed.

Anonymous VD October 28, 2013 5:26 PM  

As for your latter question, you should ask a historical scientist.

I didn't ask you for advice, I asked you a direct question. Answer it if you wish your comments to remain. You have claimed to understand science better than me and have also asserted that science " is the only way to determine the truth."

How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?"

Anonymous VD October 28, 2013 5:28 PM  

"Fraudulent" is wishful thinking on your part. Published results are meant to be peer-reviewed.

They were peer-reviewed, Pox. They were false and they were used to obtain a great deal of money. Convincing people to give you money on the basis of false information is fraud.

Anonymous Pope Cleophus I October 28, 2013 5:29 PM  

I thought science could only disprove; never prove. How does one determine truth if you can't prove anything?

While I don't have the book handy the quote I reference comes from Numerical Recipes Chapter 14

"If a statistic falls in a reasonable part of the distribution, you must not make the mistake of concluding that the null hypothesis is "verified" or "proved." That is the curse of statistics, that ic can never prove things only disprove them! At best, you can substantiate a hypothesis by ruling out statistically, a whole long list of competing hypotheses, every one that has ever benn proposed. After a while your adversaries and competitors will give up trying to think of alternate hypotheses , or else they will grow old and die, and then your hypotheses will become accepted. Sounds crazy, we know, but that's how science works!*"

* "Science advances one funeral at a time." - Max Planck

Anonymous Noah B. October 28, 2013 5:36 PM  

"That being said, would people here say the list holds up? Is it missing some critical elements? Does it push evolution out of the top 10?"

In my mind, evolution simply doesn't belong in the top 10. It's an intriguing and important concept, but it fails the test of being a true predictive model, unlike everything else in your list. It is more like after-the-fact rationalization. If you asked an evolutionary biologist what a french poodle will evolve to in 10 million years, you wouldn't get an answer that was anything beyond pure conjecture.

Anonymous VanDerMerwe October 28, 2013 5:46 PM  

Pox : This is how science works and is the only way to determine the truth.

Which is itself a non-scientific statement. You're really stupid.

Anonymous Concerned Rabbit Hunter October 28, 2013 5:56 PM  

Someone who once said the Maunder Minimum was not so bad now says we could be in for something worse:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/28/bbc-real-risk-of-a-maunder-minimum-little-ice-age/

Is he just trying to start another climate scare?

Anonymous kh123 October 28, 2013 5:58 PM  

As with stories, so too with science: The antihero trope.

Remember though, it's more shock value than inherent value that currently makes something true.

Blogger Allie October 28, 2013 6:01 PM  

It is such a shame that it has taken this long for Big Pharma to start verifying published results and making that effort known publicly. They should have done this years ago when their million dollar studies ended in failure at incredibly high rates. Hopefully these examples will be repeated and we get some understanding of why development of novel drugs is so expensive. Of course, it is a whole other topic that Pharmas have agreed to sell in certain markets based on the ability to pay.

Anonymous civilServant October 28, 2013 6:06 PM  

OT

Gun Safety Incident Lesson Learned

The other day I was in a gun shop when a customer removed a lever-action weapon from a display rack and cycled the action to test it. After several repetitions he discharged a round three feet from my head and into the ceiling. After recovery the weapon was examined and a second round removed from the action. Investigation suggested that the two rounds had been lodged on the distal end of the tube magazine. Corrosion on the brass and lead indicated that they had been in the tube for decades. When the weapon was delivered to the gun shop for sale a cursory check of the breach showed no cartridges in the chamber or on the elevator tray thus the weapon was considered to be fully unloaded. When the customer repeatedly cycled the weapon the motion jarred loose the cartridges which then dropped or were spring-pushed down to the proximal end of the tube making them available for loading. The lead cartridge was then discharged on the next action cycle.

Lesson Learned

When verifying a weapon unloaded the entire ammunition feed train must be verified as functional and clear.

Anonymous Noah B. October 28, 2013 6:11 PM  

That's a good one -- glad you're OK. And this is another good reason to keep the muzzle pointed away from things you don't intend to shoot at all times.

Anonymous Jimmy October 28, 2013 6:13 PM  

civilServant, why did this joker discharge it in the sales area anyhow? This zone isn't magically exempt from the basic rules of firearm safety.

Blogger Eric October 28, 2013 6:14 PM  

What you're seeing here is science in progress. Science growing, evolving, paradigms shifting, being confirmed and/or denied.

And yet when you point out inconsistencies you hear the Science Is Settled. Which is it?

Blogger Joel C. Salomon October 28, 2013 6:26 PM  

I’m not sure “fraudulent” is right. If you run the experiment and get results meaningful with p-value ≤ 0.05 (or whatever), you might think it’s meaningful: there’s less than a one-in-twenty chance that this is an accidental result. What you don’t know is that this experiment has been run ten thousand times before, with null results; you got (un)lucky.

I’ve seen suggested a Journal of Negative Results to allow researchers to better gauge the value of the experiments they run.

Oh, I’m sure there’s some fraud, but I couldn’t guess whether fraud or not knowing of others’ negative results is the larger contributor to the “85% wrong” statistic.

On the other hand, with so many non-reproducible results—whatever the cause—it’s obvious that the work isn’t being done or checked right.

From the half-bakery, a recommendation: Start a journal that requires referees to duplicate the work, not just judge whether the report sounds plausible—and publish the non-reproducible results as well (labeled as such, of course), giving the chance for academic credit.

Anonymous scoobius dubious October 28, 2013 6:28 PM  

"If you asked an evolutionary biologist what a french poodle will evolve to in 10 million years, you wouldn't get an answer that was anything beyond pure conjecture."

I don't care much to involve myself in evolution or scientism debates, but for the purposes of clarity and fairness: the theory claims that organisms evolve as a matter of adaptation to changing environmental pressures and surroundings. An evo biologist could not honestly predict what the poodle will look like in the future because the biologist has no way of knowing what the poodle's future environment and selection pressures will be. That's not science, that's just honesty and consistency.

Blogger Joel C. Salomon October 28, 2013 6:29 PM  

And this xkcd cartoon is definitely relevant: http://xkcd.com/882/ “Significant”

Anonymous Stephen J. October 28, 2013 6:30 PM  

"Because, based on the ACTUAL DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE presented here, published, peer-reviewed science has between a 75 percent and an 89 percent chance of being FACTUALLY FALSE."

Technically, what this evidence implies by extrapolation is that of the papers which have been published and peer-reviewed in the field of biology and medicine, 75% to 89% of them are likely to be unreplicable. Several caveats have to be applied to this inference, however:

1) 53 papers most definitely not selected at random may not be an adequate sample representation of all papers published in a year or over a set period.
2) Papers selected from one very specific field (biology and medicine) may not be representative of the accuracy ratios in other fields.
3) The unreplicability of a paper is not de facto proof of its incorrectness per se (although it is a strong indicator). Here, too, the number of replication attempts, and the quality of the replication conditions, would be something I would wish to check. Given the general incompetence at statistics dominant among *many* researchers, it's possible that the failure to replicate is a critique of the verifiers' ability rather than the writers'.

I'm all in favour of removing corrupt incentives from, and punishing incompetence in, the scientific establishment. But we have to make sure our criticisms have the accuracy that our targets' theses don't.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 6:38 PM  

LMAO. Is Pox Vay really that stupid?)

Yes. As he demonstrated with another comment. All the people who think like he does are also stupid.

Now if they see him being demonstrated to be stupid, they will have much less incentive to think like he does, and then they will be less stupid, and the aggregate stupidity will be lessened thereby.

See how trolls can be useful?

Anonymous brian October 28, 2013 6:43 PM  

Part of the problem here for Pox is that it doesn't know what "peer-review" entails or means.

Peer review is not the process of replicating or verifying the results of a submitted paper.

Peer review is the process of having a non-involved person review the methodology used in the study and verifying that it is sound.

And anyone who's ever run an experiment in high-school or college chemistry or ever programmed a computer knows that you can have perfect methodology and produce crap.

Anonymous Jack Amok October 28, 2013 6:45 PM  

this also explodes what I have repeatedly pointed out concerning the myth of science being self-correcting.

I think it's useful to point out that in this case, "Science" was corrected with help from a large dose of "Capitalism." It was someone looking to make a profit that figured out the problem. And I think that answers the question implied by Will Best when he observed

It would seem the very first group that would be interested in casting off the (science journal) gatekeepers would be academics.

Well, no, they aren't interested in that if it means for-profit businesses will take over the role. Academics are by and large the folks who found themselves unsuited for market competition. That's why Academia is the way that it is, they generally try to insulate themselves from it. Their competition is more of the Court Intrigue style, and academic journals are under their control and can be used to exclude outsiders. The market isn't, and anyone with a better idea or stronger work ethic has the opportunity to jump in and maybe show Professor Soandso to be an ass or a fool or a fraud.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 6:46 PM  

Stephen J. expains how it ain't so bad:

3) The unreplicability of a paper is not de facto proof of its incorrectness per se (although it is a strong indicator). Here, too, the number of replication attempts, and the quality of the replication conditions, would be something I would wish to check. Given the general incompetence at statistics dominant among *many* researchers, it's possible that the failure to replicate is a critique of the verifiers' ability rather than the writers'.

You forget that this is not taking place in an ivory tower vacuum. As the post says, the unreliability of the whole process is not conducive to betting billions of dollars upon.

If it is not reliable enough to proceed to engineering, it is a useless, possibly fraudulent and narcissistic product.

Anonymous brian October 28, 2013 6:58 PM  

Pox, nobody has to show that you are stupid, because we can show that you are a charlatan. And that's worse.

Anonymous TWS October 28, 2013 7:02 PM  

WTF? Is Pox Vay Latin for 'did not read the fucking article'? The studies were selected because they were the ones the companies were using in their research. The ones most important to the bottom line.

Pox I respect that you come here probably knowing you're going to get an asskicking now and then. You do need to answer direct questions without evasion. 'I don't know' or 'I can't do that' are perfectly good answers when they are true.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 7:04 PM  

Pox Vay gets more stupid:

But no one here demonstrates me as stupid.

You are here. You demonstrate yourself as stupid. Looks like you are wrong again.

See if you can go for the trifecta.

Anonymous VD October 28, 2013 7:15 PM  

WTF? Is Pox Vay Latin for 'did not read the fucking article'? The studies were selected because they were the ones the companies were using in their research. The ones most important to the bottom line.

Mm hmm. And Pox, you know the drill. Until you answer the question you were directly asked by me, your comments will be deleted. If it's not answered tomorrow, they will be spammed.

You should have learned by now that you can't bluff here. You will be called on your naked assertions.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 7:29 PM  

To be fair, I am thinking Pox Vay thinks Brutus is the guy who replaced Bluto in the Popeye cartoons when he was growing up, and he thinks Julius Caesar is a type of salad, so he does not understand the question.

Anonymous The CronoLink October 28, 2013 7:29 PM  

^^
Tiresome troll is tiresome

Anonymous GG October 28, 2013 7:32 PM  

Amazing VD. Synchronicity, it's a real thing in the world. Long ago I had a raging feminist debate at IBTP about science as an institution, an entity unto itself that had little to do with discovery, exploration anymore. The ironic part was that I was trying to explain to a bunch of fem women about how women approach the world, about how we are always conducting experiments. Chemistry is happening in the kitchen, biology in our everyday lives, psychology in our child raising. Women are the world's natural scientists. I mean seriously, who better to constantly question the nature of Creation? Isn't that pretty much how God designed us? We don't need educations, degrees, laboratories, it's simply who we are.

Anyway, long story short, they took me down hard. It was kind of funny, I was advocating for women on a feminist site and they were shrieking, "No, Science is King. Women are second class citizens!" Also, the atheists started damning me to hell, which was kind of funny at the time.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 7:39 PM  

So - when you have a raging infection, do you take the antibiotics the doctor prescribed you, or do you make wishes to your imaginary Jewish zombie friend, Dipshit?.

Reading comprehension failure, Asswad.

You left out "they are little more than a professional union attempting to coast on the achievements of their predecessors."

The "predecessors" had achievements, the current crop have fraud,

SlimeShit.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 7:41 PM  

My last comment was in reply to a Phony but it disappeared before I published.

I think I did good, however.

Anonymous Augustina October 28, 2013 7:49 PM  

None of this surprises me. I work in a university lab studying neurotrauma. My previous boss was the head of a large multi center study trying out various drugs purported to help with neurotrauma. These compounds were selected because they had published peer reviewed beneficial results in animal models of neurotrauma. We tried these compounds in several animal models in 4 or 5 different universities.

The results? Not a single compound in a single study in a single center showed even a glimmer of beneficial results. Not one. Something is seriously wrong with the methodology in academic science.

Billions are wasted in pursuing drugs that appear to help in various disease models in academic labs. What a waste.

Anonymous Dc October 28, 2013 8:22 PM  

"As for your latter question, you should ask a historical scientist."

Wth is a "historical scientist". Don't you mean historian?

Anonymous Stephen J. October 28, 2013 8:33 PM  

"As the post says, the unreliability of the whole process is not conducive to betting billions of dollars upon."

Granted. The tricky part, given that all innovative hypothesis construction is basically a trial-and-error process, is working out an alternative system that eliminates the corrupting "publish or perish" incentives while still maintaining the research volume required to yield a worthwhile frequency of useful result. Venture capital bets on scientific innovation are *always* a gamble, and the temptation to misrepresent the odds just enough to convince the skeptics is always going to be there.

That said, that doesn't mean people shouldn't keep betting. As Robert Heinlein said, "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't play, you can't win."

Anonymous Pox Vay October 28, 2013 8:47 PM  

No, I mean a historical scientistl. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Historical_and_operational_science

And VD, what question are you referring to?

Anonymous Pox Vay October 28, 2013 8:49 PM  

"The studies were selected because they were the ones the companies were using in their research. The ones most important to the bottom line."

I'm sure there's a lot more than 53 that fit that definition. And 53 in what time-span? Were they all in the same year? 53 over the course of 5 years? There's a lot of different ways to come up with that data set.

Anonymous kh123 October 28, 2013 8:57 PM  

"There's a lot of different ways to come up with that data set."

Not that this line of argument couldn't be used more effectively against phylogenies, but please do continue.

Blogger tz October 28, 2013 8:58 PM  

I predict that states will freeze more often than healthcare.gov

Anonymous Pox Gay October 28, 2013 8:58 PM  

SCIECE is self collecting.

Blogger AMDG October 28, 2013 9:00 PM  

Vox

If you are using fraud in the legal sense (versus rhetorical sense), you should know that fraud requires knowledge of falsity and knowledge of reliance by a third party. A weak methodology is different than doctoring the results. Further, I have no reason to assume that the author of a study or experiment knewthat its conclusions would form the basis of millions in further R & D. If I am wrong, the obvious question to you is why Amgen did not sue for fraud, which, if successful, would enable Amgen to recover attorneys fees and punitive damages?

Blogger tz October 28, 2013 9:06 PM  

More "dismal" science.

The published "science" was crony-reviewed, but cronies are the sincerest form of peers.

The incentive is to not bother doing anything except rubber-stamping as long as it is orthodox, and rejecting it if it is heterodox.

If the "peer-reviewers" would get $100 for each nonsense article they actually rejected (pointing to the obvious stupidity - send a few intentionally fake articles through), fewer would get through.

The comment section here is far more brutally "peer reviewed" than anything I've seen in "science" within my lifetime. People actually have to defend their views.

Anonymous Anonymous October 28, 2013 9:07 PM  

Yes, I noted this in the original article and passed it on to my oncologist.....Obviously I have a bit of a vested interest in the results of both studies..

The really interesting thing to me is how many like minded results are being "discovered" and thought "worthy of note" in proportion to the amount of research dollars available to fund the studies.

In other words, seems like truth in science might be making a comeback as a strategy to improve one's chances of receiving grant money.

Aaron Investigates.

Blogger Desiderius October 28, 2013 9:13 PM  

"attempting to coast on the achievements of their predecessors"

Why should scientists miss out on all the fun?

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 9:14 PM  

So now that we know cancer research is full of either fraud or incompetence, can we stop with the pink booties on NFL players?

Hmmmmmmm?

Anonymous PrayingHard October 28, 2013 9:18 PM  

And what other way do you propose to get at the truth if not the scientific method? Have you done a study on the reliability of praying to Jeebus for revelations vs the scientific method. Or do you have yet another process in mind? Pulling truth out of your ass maybe?

Blogger Desiderius October 28, 2013 9:19 PM  

"I was advocating for women on a feminist site and they were shrieking, 'No, Science is King. Women are second class citizens!'"

What we now call "feminism" is in fact the result of smaller family sizes leading fathers to raise their daughters to be the sons they did not get to have, the daughters (inevitably) making a hash of being men, and the distortions and frustrations resulting therefrom.

Anonymous kh123 October 28, 2013 9:24 PM  

Kilo Poptard appears to be back.

Anonymous fritz October 28, 2013 9:25 PM  

Speaking of science. A couple of days ago, there was a 7.3 earthquake off the coast of Japan. Subsequently a monster typhoon heading for Japan turned into a fizzle. The Weather Channel and NOAA is completely mum on the subject. Well, Mike Harris and friends will explain that to you. Listen live now, or download later.

Black Ops Guys

Anonymous The Dude October 28, 2013 9:27 PM  

"I’m not sure “fraudulent” is right. If you run the experiment and get results meaningful with p-value ≤ 0.05 (or whatever), you might think it’s meaningful: there’s less than a one-in-twenty chance that this is an accidental result. What you don’t know is that this experiment has been run ten thousand times before, with null results; you got (un)lucky."

At Harvard Law School a couple decades ago they implemented a PC program that would randomly place students in their desired clinical practice group. Since it was Harvard the groups were such things as the Violence against Women project, the AIDS legal clinic that drafted wills, and the illegal alien defense project.

Everyone was begging for special clinic placement favors, driving the staff crazy (little HLS suckups). So they decided to do the selection "scientifically" using a "Computer " (tm) to do the random placements.

Type in everyone's name and their three legal clinic choices, run the randomization program and -- POOF -- The Computer would spit out the results.

Problem was that the lowly staffer would run the program over and over again until her two or three favorite students got their desired placements. Yes, it was random. Yes, it was done by the computer. Yes, the results of the final run could not be predicted in advance. But the staffer ran it and ran it until she got the outcome she wanted. But she could, with a straight face, explain how she (1) typed the data in, (2) pressed the button, (3) the computer generated the placements, and (3) she posted the results. It never dawned on those chump students to even question the outcome.

Blogger Desiderius October 28, 2013 9:28 PM  

PrayingHard,

"And what other way do you propose to get at the truth if not the scientific method? Have you done a study on the reliability of praying to Jeebus for revelations vs the scientific method. Or do you have yet another process in mind? Pulling truth out of your ass maybe?"

His burden is light, and yoke is easy. You're doing it wrong.

Also, perhaps a better effort at reading comprehension might avail you a modicum of insight. You have nothing to lose but your unfounded bigotry. As everyone is aware (including you), Vox is saying nothing against the scientific method. That you've evidently gained some benefit from such transparent obtuseness in your past doesn't say good things about your character or the company you've kept.

Anonymous daddynichol October 28, 2013 9:42 PM  

To Vox Pay:

Read the following VERY, VERY slowly and let it sink in. It was written earlier by Vox to YOU! Begin now:

"I didn't ask you for advice, I asked you a direct question. Answer it if you wish your comments to remain. You have claimed to understand science better than me and have also asserted that science " is the only way to determine the truth."

How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?"


There. Did that help or do you need to read it again to catch the question?

Anonymous Jack Amok October 28, 2013 9:42 PM  

If you are using fraud in the legal sense (versus rhetorical sense), you should know that fraud requires knowledge of falsity and knowledge of reliance by a third party.

Well, we can pretty much conclude the second test is met unless you wish to claim the papers were submitted for publication without the author's knowledge. Submitting a paper for publication is implicitly making it available for third parties to rely on. If the author included the erroneous paper in his or her list of published works, then they are asking hiring committees, funding agencies and award committees to rely on them.

So, that one's in the bag. It would take a spectacularly incompetent legal eagle to lose on that point.

And we're left with the question of whether they knew there was "falsity" at the time the paper was published. Now, merely being wrong isn't "fraud" and frankly, a paper could be 100% correct in it's findings and still be fraudulent (e.g. plagiarized someone else's work, or claimed to have duplicated someone else's work without actually doing so). But I suspect we could come up with a reasonable, functional - even civilized - definition of fraud, especially if we don't listen too much to the lawyers.

Anonymous daddynichol October 28, 2013 9:44 PM  

"Pox Vay" correction.

Anonymous Harsh October 28, 2013 10:02 PM  

And what other way do you propose to get at the truth if not the scientific method?

You missed the point of the article. VD isn't attacking the scientific method but science as practiced today.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 10:05 PM  

Pox Vay:

There's a lot of different ways to come up with that data set.

How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?"

Anonymous Jack Amok October 28, 2013 10:12 PM  

How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?

Well, let's see, first we'll need money. Lots and lots of it. I'll get the grant application filled out later, but for now, a few hundred millions should get us started.

Next, we'll need a conference - taxpayer funded of course - in Rome, followed by a two week retreat at some nearby location - Ibiza perhaps - where we can establish the International Interdisciplinary Working Group (call it "earwig" for short).

Once the IIWG is up and running, we'll need certain restrictions placed on things. People should drive cars less often so as to reduce the risk of air pollution destroying any important historical evidence to be found in Rome. This is especially important for Americans to reduce pollution, as they live so close to Rome. North Africans - who live very very far away from Rome, should still burn fossil fuels at whatever rate they like.

The EU and America (as well as Australia, and any place else with lots of white people) will need to increase immigration and give the immigrants lots of welfare, as no science is truly possible without Social Justice.

Schools will need to adopt new curriculum standards for teaching about Ancient Rome (these will be developed with some of the early grant funding) so students (the children are our future, after all) will be properly prepared.

Eventually, we will be able to answer the question "Did Brutus kill Ceasar?" with a definitive "who cares, they're just a couple of dead white guys."

Anonymous Pox Vay October 28, 2013 10:12 PM  

"How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?"

If that's the question he wants answered (I'm not sure) then he's only playing a game. He knows I don't have the available resources to verify the claim. So, could science determine if Brutus and his cohorts stabbed Caesar to death? Yes, if the proper evidence was available. It's not.

But we could certainly use science to help us with the case, even now. You'd have to start by closely analyzing Plutarch and Suetonius's works, both forensically and for content. There'd be decades of research to involve. So asking a blog commenter (not a scientist or historian) to answer the question is just Vox's way of moving the goal post. He apparently wants to ban me, though I my rhetoric is far less inflammatory than his own. While his commenters use name-calling to make their points, I typically keep things on topic. So if Vox ban's me, it'll just be further proof that he fears dissenting opinions.

Blogger Monaka der Hund October 28, 2013 10:14 PM  

Seems to me that answers to the big questions are immediately scrutinized and, if necessary, rejected or corrected. One example would be the arsenic bacteria mentioned in the very article. Another the claim that particles travel faster than light that made a big stir a year ago (or was it two?).
While the non-correction of sloppy papers is a problem that needs addressing, I would not dismiss science as a "means of determining the truth".

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 10:20 PM  

If that's the question he wants answered (I'm not sure)

How can you not be sure? It was categorically stated.

Be that as it may, now that you have answered after a fashion, you can wait for a reply.

I think you are flattering yourself to think you are ban-worthy. You are more useful as a cautionary tale for others.

Blogger AMDG October 28, 2013 10:20 PM  

Did I mention you have to prove each element by clear and convincing evidence? Look, my point is not to be patronizing. I just don't like to see terms of art, like fraud, used publicly because it can land you on the wrong side of the v in a lawsuit. A little CYA can go a long way.

Anonymous Harsh October 28, 2013 10:24 PM  

So if Vox ban's me, it'll just be further proof that he fears dissenting opinions.

But you haven't been banned so that kind of proves he doesn't care.

Blogger wrf3 October 28, 2013 10:32 PM  

Pox Vay mewled: Yes, if the proper evidence was available.

What would be proper [scientific] evidence for this? Please be specific. C'mon, PV. If the scientific method is the only way to truth, then tell us how to scientifically determine the truth or falsity of this historical event.

It's not.

So that leaves you with choices:
1) We cannot truly know if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death.
2) We do know that Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death, but it's a true statement shown by other than scientific means.

Which is it?

So if Vox ban's me, it'll just be further proof that he fears dissenting opinions

Hardly. The list of things that Vox and I disagree on is large... and growing. He doesn't fear dissenting opinions. He detests mewling anklebiters who can't support or follow their arguments, or the rebuttals of their opponents. It's trivially obvious what Vox has asked you and why he asked it. If I were to undergo a lobotomy and play Devil's Advocate for your position, I'd know how I'd answer it. But you don't seem able to understand what's really going on.

Blogger wrf3 October 28, 2013 10:34 PM  

Monaka der Hund wrote: I would not dismiss science as a "means of determining the truth".

Hint: Vox doesn't.

Anonymous zen0 October 28, 2013 10:36 PM  

Look, my point is not to be patronizing. I just don't like to see terms of art, like fraud, used publicly because it can land you on the wrong side of the v in a lawsuit.

That is decent of you, but legal and moral definitions are not the same. For instance:

Fraud is commonly understood as dishonesty calculated for advantage. A person who is dishonest may be called a fraud. In the U.S. legal system, fraud is a specific offense with certain features.

Blogger James Dixon October 28, 2013 10:58 PM  

> So, could science determine if Brutus and his cohorts stabbed Caesar to death? Yes, if the proper evidence was available. It's not.

That would be a no, then. So why can't you just come out and say so?

Anonymous Jack Amok October 28, 2013 11:06 PM  

Did I mention you have to prove each element by clear and convincing evidence? Look, my point is not to be patronizing. I just don't like to see terms of art, like fraud, used publicly because it can land you on the wrong side of the v in a lawsuit. A little CYA can go a long way.

Well, possibly that's generous of you, but frankly, you're just furthering the stereotype of lawyers as shysters trying to distort language and look sophisticated doing so. Your insertion of the third party clause is particularly obnoxious, since it is rather obvious that such published papers are the work output and CV of academic scientists. It is literally their job - or at least an essential part of it - to publish such papers. They get paid and promoted based on such papers.

If you want to point out that it's not necessarily fraud if someone is merely incorrect, then I'm in complete agreement with you, and happy to discuss what is (and ought to be, as there's likely a difference) the criteria for distinguishing between fraud and error.

But you'll excuse me if I observe that Amgen and Bayer and pretty much any other pharma company are routinely held liable for harm caused by honest mistakes they make.

Anonymous Dc October 28, 2013 11:24 PM  

No, I mean a historical scientistl. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Historical_and_operational_science

That didn't help. There appears to still not be an actual position named "historical scientist".

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother October 28, 2013 11:28 PM  

Pox,

If you haven't figured it out yet, the purpose of this thought exercise Vox has laid upon your plate is to demonstrate that science is not the source of all truth, and that truth can be determined with out the use of science.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 28, 2013 11:33 PM  

You missed the point of the article. VD isn't attacking the scientific method but science as practiced today.

Attacking "science" is moronic, whether it is attacking it as practiced or not. There is plenty of good science being done, as well as bad. Attacking "science" is like attacking birdwatching, which is to say, it is idiotic.

Blogger kurt9 October 28, 2013 11:35 PM  

The cancer research papers are bogus because of contamination. The researchers, university and government, often times were not careful to practice lab protocols aimed to prevent contamination of cell cultures. This has been a problem that has been on-going for 30 years. Much of the cancer research "conducted" over the past 30 years is essentially useless.

I had a personal experience with fraud in scientific research while in Japan during the 90's. I was trying to growth thin-film diamond using CVD process. The highest growth rate I could obtain was 1 micron per hour of thickness. There were several papers purporting this could be increased to 2-3 microns per hour using various methods like increasing plasma energy and adding Oxygen to the gas mix. I was never able to reproduce these results after many attempts, along with many changes to my equipment and process. It was one of my colleagues who suggested that the papers might be fabrications, as he said he had done the same thing while in grad school.

Medical research is more prone to such fabrications than most other research in the hard sciences. It is also more likely to suffer due to poor lab protocols as well. Issues such as culture contamination are very difficult to prevent and one's technique must be very careful to prevent such contamination from occurring.

I suspect one of the reasons why medical research tends to have a higher rate of such flaws compared to the physical sciences is because medical researchers, as well a biology people in general, tend to have more of a liberal arts background rather than hard science (e.g. STEM).

Anonymous PrayingHard October 28, 2013 11:40 PM  

If you haven't figured it out yet, the purpose of this thought exercise Vox has laid upon your plate is to demonstrate that science is not the source of all truth, and that truth can be determined with out the use of science.

Actually that particular "thought excercise" is more indicative of Vox's ignorance and stupidity than anything else. There is no way for anyone to verify the truth of that statement. It is simply accepted as true by convention, for a multitude of very practical reasons. The "truth" of it, strictly speaking, is not relevant.

Blogger Jamie-R October 28, 2013 11:54 PM  

Our new PM got it right (he used to be the headcracker in the Howard Years), he said a lot of science being used in the political sphere is there to promote socialism and nothing else. Al Gore had a go at him, and it was hilarious to hear the loon compare our PM to cigarette companies denying they cause cancer when he said the UN climate change bitch was 'talking through her hat' on bushfires being caused by it.

Anonymous Harsh October 28, 2013 11:54 PM  

Attacking "science" is moronic, whether it is attacking it as practiced or not.

Attacking fraud is not moronic, in fact it's a moral imperative. Any science that is fraudulent must be attacked.

There is plenty of good science being done, as well as bad.

Good science is not the problem nor is it the point of this article.

Attacking "science" is like attacking birdwatching, which is to say, it is idiotic.

I don't get the connection.

Blogger IM2L844 October 28, 2013 11:54 PM  

You'd have to start by closely analyzing Plutarch and Suetonius's works, both forensically and for content. There'd be decades of research to involve.

So you're saying that documentary evidence would be satisfactory and convincing if it passed a few decades of intense scholarly scrutiny?

Anonymous dh October 28, 2013 11:59 PM  

Answer this question: How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?

This is a really serious and interesting question. Isn't science a study of "what is"? Science is inherently poorly suited to say anything about something that happened before now.

Anonymous fmudd October 29, 2013 12:07 AM  


Answer this question: How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?


This is a really serious and interesting question. Isn't science a study of "what is"? Science is inherently poorly suited to say anything about something that happened before now.


That was the point (not his whole point to be clear, but a large part) of VD's question.

Anonymous Jack Amok October 29, 2013 12:16 AM  

Attacking "science" is moronic, whether it is attacking it as practiced or not.

You aren't aware enough of how leftists work. They have a tactic they repeat quite frequently. They take a word that has positive connotations with most people, words like "liberty", "justice", "progress" or "science" and start using it (or a variation of it) to refer to their own negative, unsavory activities. They piggyback their policies on the good reputation of the word. Liberty is good, so Liberals must be good too. Justice is good, so Social Justice must be good too. Science is good, so these people calling themselves Scientists must be good too.

Never mind that what Liberals do is very much anti-liberty, that Progressives are trying to take us back to a peerage with sharp distinctions between connected nobles and the wretched serfs. And never mind that what these same people call "Science" is nothing more than propaganda with (often incorrect) math.

The whole goal of the leftists in doing this, in this theft of language, is to make it impossible to disagree with them. What they want is for people to say exactly what you said.

"This Vox Day guy is attacking us. We're scientists. Therefore, he's attacking Science, and attacking Science is moronic. So everyone can ignore him now because he's clearly a moron for attacking us."

Sure, I feel bad for real scientists doing real science, but they need to stand up more to protect the reputation of their craft.

Anonymous fmudd October 29, 2013 12:17 AM  


Medical research is more prone to such fabrications than most other research in the hard sciences. It is also more likely to suffer due to poor lab protocols as well. Issues such as culture contamination are very difficult to prevent and one's technique must be very careful to prevent such contamination from occurring.


I don't dispute this to be true (I am not a scientist) but I would extend your remarks to include ANY science that can be clearly exploited for political and cultural gains. Think about all of those "studies" about homosexuality - do you honestly think that there were simply lapses in how the study was conducted, surveys taken, etc.?

How many of those studies will we find out twenty-thirty years later were like Steven Jay Gould's skull measurements?


I suspect one of the reasons why medical research tends to have a higher rate of such flaws compared to the physical sciences is because medical researchers, as well a biology people in general, tend to have more of a liberal arts background rather than hard science (e.g. STEM).


Or, more precisely, people who want science to advance an agenda regardless of the cost.

Anonymous Pox Vay October 29, 2013 12:37 AM  

"If you haven't figured it out yet, the purpose of this thought exercise Vox has laid upon your plate is to demonstrate that science is not the source of all truth, and that truth can be determined with out the use of science."

In that case he's failed. In the case he's provided there are only two outcomes. Science can determine the truth behind Brutus killing Caesar, or science can not. There is no alternative allowing for that truth to be determined by something other than science. Any action you took to determine the truth (that isn't terribly flawed) would be science.

Anonymous fmudd October 29, 2013 1:04 AM  


In that case he's failed. In the case he's provided there are only two outcomes. Science can determine the truth behind Brutus killing Caesar, or science can not. There is no alternative allowing for that truth to be determined by something other than science. Any action you took to determine the truth (that isn't terribly flawed) would be science.


Definition of Science:
The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

https://www.google.com/search?q=define%3A+science&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

The review of historical documents or the retelling of stories does not, in fact, fit the provided and readily available definition of science.

Seems someone need to find out what IS science before he talks about what it can determine.

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 1:17 AM  

Near as I can tell, truth is simply an theory that best fits, explains and predicts the observable facts. Any attempt to draw a boundary line between what is and what is not science is just for convenience.

The theory that best fits the evidence for Caesar's death is that Brutus killed him.

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 1:19 AM  

If a researcher comes up with a drug that, in practice, substantially addresses the affects of some pathogen does it really matter how "science" gets defined?

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 1:22 AM  

effects, i'm tired.

Blogger James Dixon October 29, 2013 1:23 AM  

> Any action you took to determine the truth (that isn't terribly flawed) would be science.

Congratulations. You've just defined science so broadly that the term would be meaningless.

Blogger IM2L844 October 29, 2013 1:37 AM  

Congratulations. You've just defined science so broadly that the term would be meaningless.

Maybe, but it is as close to right as I think he is going to get and I'm not sure the famous Austrian philosopher of science, Paul Feyerabend, would disagree with him at all.

Anonymous rho October 29, 2013 1:48 AM  

Pox Vay, the question was asked by VD for a very specific reason. He didn't pick Brutus and Caesar out of a hat.

Not that you care, but dissenting opinion is welcome here. For example, Stephen J. made a few good points regarding the takeaway opinion of the linked story that contradict VD's opinion, but he wasn't given shit about it. Because he wasn't a dick.

If it's your Internet goal to get banned, well, bully for you. If you want a fight, you'll get it, and a good one. But you shouldn't just stand there and jab over and over again, because you will get a kick to the head. Hope this advice helps you.

Anonymous fmudd October 29, 2013 1:52 AM  


If a researcher comes up with a drug that, in practice, substantially addresses the affects of some pathogen does it really matter how "science" gets defined?


Yes, it does; if the researcher comes up with the drug but cannot reproduce the results then what good does it do humanity with one-off results?


Maybe, but it is as close to right as I think he is going to get and I'm not sure the famous Austrian philosopher of science, Paul Feyerabend, would disagree with him at all.


Which is why his argument falls flat.

Under this definition: "Any action you took to determine the truth (that isn't terribly flawed) would be science."

even reading a newspaper would be considered "science".

Blogger IM2L844 October 29, 2013 2:05 AM  

even reading a newspaper would be considered "science".

"There is no coherent [scientific] knowledge, i.e. no uniform comprehensive account of the world and the events in it. There is no comprehensive truth that goes beyond an enumeration of details, but there are many pieces of information, obtained in different ways from different sources and collected for the benefit of the curious. The best way of presenting such knowledge is the list - and the oldest scientific works were indeed lists of facts, parts, coincidences, problems in several specialized domains." ~ Paul Feyerabend

Reading a newspaper could indeed be considered scientific research.

Anonymous Joe October 29, 2013 2:31 AM  

"Reading a newspaper could indeed be considered scientific research."

Just like practicing a religion.

Anonymous Dc October 29, 2013 2:43 AM  

"Any action you took to determine the truth (that isn't terribly flawed) would be science."

So you as a leftist are acknowledging there is such a thing as Truth?

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 3:38 AM  

So asking a blog commenter (not a scientist or historian) to answer the question is just Vox's way of moving the goal post. He apparently wants to ban me, though I my rhetoric is far less inflammatory than his own.

Saying "I don't know" or "I withdraw the claim in connection to which you ask this" are acceptable ways of avoiding ban due to rule #2. As for me, I'm satisfied with the answer of the evidence not being available.

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 3:43 AM  

The point of rule #2 is that now it is an unambiguous premise for Vox's next argument that the evidence is not available, since that's your own words. This is why rule #2 exists, so that the opponent cannot then later wiggle out of it. Remember, you can use it too. Just remember that you have to identify the relevant claim in connection to which you invoke the rule.

Anonymous fmudd October 29, 2013 3:49 AM  




Reading a newspaper could indeed be considered scientific research.


What the person you are quoting is saying is perhaps the exact opposite of what you are proposing; look at the words. "obtained in different ways from different sources" and "no uniform comprehensive account", etc.

What he is saying is that there are multiple ways of finding out the truth "for the benefit of the curious", not that everything is science. Nowhere in that quote can you see Paul Feyerabend clearly say that science simple means finding the truth.

You'll need to find some other reference for that claim.

You're bastardizing the field in order to get around the real truth as commenter Dc is alluding to.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 3:52 AM  

He didn't make the claim that science could prove the truth of that statement, or that science could prove the truth of every statement. The question was irrelevant. Specifically which claim did he make that that question is related to Markku?

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 3:55 AM  

PrayingHard:

Quoting Vox:

I didn't ask you for advice, I asked you a direct question. Answer it if you wish your comments to remain. You have claimed to understand science better than me and have also asserted that science " is the only way to determine the truth."

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 4:13 AM  

Right so how do you get from "the only way to determine the truth" to "able to determine the truth of any statement", or even just "the truth of whether Brutus killed Caesar". Neither follows from the first. Whether there is any truth value in the usual sense of truth for the second statement is even up for debate. You might ask if science can determine how many angels might fit on the head of a pin and declare there must be some true value.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 4:23 AM  

Desiderius: methinks you protest too much. Vox likes to do his share of trolling accompanied by a chorus of snickering from the likes of you, but when someone comes here and trolls you reach for your top hat and monocle. Don't make me lol.

Anonymous Ann Morgan October 29, 2013 4:30 AM  

VD wrote: **This shows that MOST published science is fraudulent.**

I'm not sure you can make that statement, Vox. It may be that most published science is not factually correct. However 'fraud' implies a deliberate attempt, with forethought, to deceive. Incorrect science may not necessarily be a deliberate attempt to deceive. It could be an error of some kind in the experiment that was performed. Or a matter of negligence, which I would classify more under 'lazy' than 'fraud'.

I would definitely be highly suspicious, though, of any scientists who objected loudly to those who questioned them, refused to show their data, refused to explain how their experiment was carried out so it could be duplicated, refused to show their physical evidence or claimed that their wasn't any, or based their 'results' on something which could have many possible explanations and they were either unable to or unwilling to eliminate the other explanations.

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 4:32 AM  

Right so how do you get from "the only way to determine the truth" to "able to determine the truth of any statement", or even just "the truth of whether Brutus killed Caesar".

You necessarily don't. The point is simply to have Pox now pinned to a position, namely that he doesn't scientifically know if Brutus killed Caesar. I can pretty much guess how Vox is going to use this fact, but I'll just wait for him to do it.

Anonymous Ann Morgan October 29, 2013 4:40 AM  

Vox wrote: **How can science determine if Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death?**

It probably can't determine it with 100% certainty, but there are ways to determine with very high probability that Brutus did it. For instance, finding Brutus's fingerprints on the knife that happens to be the same shape as Caesar's stab wounds, finding his footprints around the palace, finding Caesar's blood on Brutus's clothing or body. Finding Brutus's hair skin or blood in Caesar's mouth or under his nails.

There comes a point when, if there is enough forensic evidence, claims by Brutus and his 3 friends that he was actually playing a poker game on the evening of the Ides of March are probably (but not 100% certainty) lies or confusion.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 4:47 AM  

Lol what? Do you realize what you said? If Vox's question does not follow from Pox's claim, that means it is not related. In other words, Vox is demanding that he answer a question that does not follow from his claim, on pain of getting banned. In other words, Vox could have asked him to name his Grandma's middle name or get banned, and it would have been equally legitimate, according to you.

In other words, the rules don't mean anything.

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 4:48 AM  

Ann:

Yes, in theory you could, or you could as well find evidence that he didn't. But would you agree with the statement "we don't currently know who killed Caesar?"

don't mean "scientifically know" or "know with 100% certainty", but simply as the statement reads.

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 4:49 AM  

PrayingHard: That is a fascinating view of the word "relevant".

Anonymous Ann Morgan October 29, 2013 4:53 AM  

Regarding evolution - it's a result of a few other processes, including mutation, selection, and genetic inheritance. About the only prediction that can probably be made from it is that future organisms will be better at both offense and defense than past organisms. Otherwise, there's too many factors involved including changes in the climate and changes in other species.

I'd say it's probably far more useful to know about genetic inheritance than about evolution for a variety of reasons:

1. If we don't want the human race to 'evolve' in some direction we regard as 'bad', then we should discourage (or at least not encourage) people from breeding with others who have the 'bad' traits.
2. You can get some pretty good results in breeding new types of animals and plants fairly quickly if you understand genetic inheritance.
3. It probably isn't a good idea to try to force everyone to breed only with others we regard as 'good', since we don't know what conditions will be in the future, and some trait we now regard as 'bad' might turn out to be useful in the future. For instance, if the sun suddenly gets much hotter, dark skin is going to be useful regardless of your personal racial prejudices. Genetic variety is a good safeguard against extinction.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 4:59 AM  

OK how would you qualify a follow up question that carries with it a ban if it isn't answered? Should it be related to the original claim, and if so in what way? And does Vox's question meet the requirements, keeping in mind that you've already admitted that it doesn't follow from the original claim?

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 5:03 AM  

And what does "know", as the statement reads, mean to you?

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 5:08 AM  

1 a : having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand
b : affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion
c : having social relevance

In this case, we're talking about b. Vox intent almost certainly to use reductio ad absurdum by demonstrating that the principle leads to us not knowing who killed Caesar, which is a statement nobody would make with a straight face in any other context.

---

Private information is the only way I could see the rule possibly abused. For any other difficult question, "I don't know" is always a trivial way out. Now, sure, Vox could do that, but he could just as well not have any rules at all and just ban whoever he likes. The whole point of the rules is to increase the majority of the visitors' confidence that they'll be treated fairly, and such blatantly obvious dishonesty would have exactly the same effect as not having rules, if not worse.

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 5:13 AM  

And what does "know", as the statement reads, mean to you?

In normal speech it means supported by an amount of evidence that a reasonable person would consider adequate. The exact line is blurry, but I'm sure that if you asked that question exactly as it stands from a randomly chosen group of people, the overwhelming majority of them would answer in the affirmative.

Anonymous VD October 29, 2013 5:13 AM  

So, could science determine if Brutus and his cohorts stabbed Caesar to death? Yes, if the proper evidence was available. It's not.

Thank you. So, you have admitted that science cannot determine if Brutus and company stabbed Caesar to death. And you have also implicitly rejected the validity of documentary evidence.

But we could certainly use science to help us with the case, even now. You'd have to start by closely analyzing Plutarch and Suetonius's works, both forensically and for content. There'd be decades of research to involve. So asking a blog commenter (not a scientist or historian) to answer the question is just Vox's way of moving the goal post. He apparently wants to ban me, though I my rhetoric is far less inflammatory than his own. While his commenters use name-calling to make their points, I typically keep things on topic. So if Vox ban's me, it'll just be further proof that he fears dissenting opinions.

Since I haven't banned you, this serves as proof that I do not fear dissenting opinions. The purpose of the question was to confirm that you would stand by your position that science is the only means of determining the truth, to demonstrate that you do not understand what "evidence" is, and furthermore, that you do not understand how science works.

That's all. But I'll certainly be using your admissions against you in the future. Which you, of course know, since that's why you were trying to avoid answering the questions. I don't ask questions in order to ban people, I ask them questions, under pain of banning, in order to point out to others the flaws in their arguments.

What we have set up together here, you and I, is a contradiction between two things. On the basis of your reasoning, either (a) we must admit to not knowing if Brutus killed Caesar or (b) we must admit that science is not the sole determinant of the truth. You might still cling to the latter, but no historically informed individual will do so.

The fact that you insisted science could determine whether Brutus killed Caesar or not, if only there was "proper evidence" was merely decorative icing on the cake.

Anonymous Steve October 29, 2013 5:14 AM  

"3. It probably isn't a good idea to try to force everyone to breed only with others we regard as 'good', since we don't know what conditions will be in the future, and some trait we now regard as 'bad' might turn out to be useful in the future. For instance, if the sun suddenly gets much hotter, dark skin is going to be useful regardless of your personal racial prejudices. Genetic variety is a good safeguard against extinction."

Laughably myopic.

Ann? Honey? There are plenty of dark-skinned Europeans.

If the sun were to suddenly move nearer to the earth or the earth nearer to the sun, or the sun expanded or some other condition brought about a greater need for melanin, it can be gleaned from within the race by Europeans/generic whites without ever needing to interbreed with Africans or Pacific Islanders or hipanics or what-have-you. The Italians and Greeks are dark-skinned,for instance. The European race is an extremely diverse strain. We have no need of race-mixing.

The same goes for disease resistance. Ours is actually better than many others' from being exposed to animal virii. Asians,including those in India, might have even better immunities than we do,however, from living in close proximity to so many other humans.

Anonymous VD October 29, 2013 5:20 AM  

Right so how do you get from "the only way to determine the truth" to "able to determine the truth of any statement", or even just "the truth of whether Brutus killed Caesar". Neither follows from the first.

Of course it follows. Your logic is inept. Consider:

1. It is said that Brutus killed Caesar.
2. That statement is either true or false.
3. Science is the only way to determine the truth.
4. Therefore, to know if Brutus killed Caesar, we must utilize science.
5. Therefore, if science cannot be utilized, we cannot know that Brutus killed Caesar.

The question not only followed, it is the sort of question that is absolutely necessary to test Pox's assertion. Either you reject the historical fact that Brutus killed Caesar or you reject the assertion that science is the only way to determine the truth. You cannot logically accept both.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 5:27 AM  

In this case, we're talking about b. Vox intent almost certainly to use reductio ad absurdum by demonstrating that the principle leads to us not knowing who killed Caesar, which is a statement nobody would make with a straight face in any other context.

In other words, "knowing" in this manner of speaking is a convention used to actually mean "passed down and accepted as true".

In normal speech it means supported by an amount of evidence that a reasonable person would consider adequate. The exact line is blurry, but I'm sure that if you asked that question exactly as it stands from a randomly chosen group of people, the overwhelming majority of them would answer in the affirmative.

Adequate for what purpose? For the purpose of repeating the purported "knowledge"? That is easy enough and carries no consequences for being wrong. Which is why the standard is so soft for questions like this. By this logic, everyone should be rich, because after all everyone "knows" the markets always go up and house prices never go down. The standard of evidence a "reasonable" person demands to accept something as true should not be a basis for making any kind of philosophical argument.

Anonymous zen0 October 29, 2013 5:41 AM  

dh observes:

Science is inherently poorly suited to say anything about something that happened before now.

You mean like origin of the universe and evolution and such?

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 5:42 AM  

Either you reject the historical fact that Brutus killed Caesar or you reject the assertion that science is the only way to determine the truth. You cannot logically accept both.

You do not have to "reject the historical fact" that Brutus killed Caesar. You don't even have to admit that it is a decidable question. Much less still that it is decidable by scientific investigation. There is a set of questions that science is able to answer. The question is, is "Brutus killed Caesar" in that set? It is not.

That you accept that "Brutus killed Caesar" as a "truth" and equate that "truth" with many other kinds of "truth", scientific "truths" included, is your problem, and something you should probably try to untangle.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 5:44 AM  

You might as well have asked him if "gdfaghdsfhlkj==skldjghsdfajkhg on planet dflghaslg". Not only is science not able to determine the truth of it, it's questionable if there is any truth to it at all.

Anonymous PrayingHard October 29, 2013 6:00 AM  

Either you reject the historical fact that Brutus killed Caesar or you reject the assertion that science is the only way to determine the truth. You cannot logically accept both.

There is a third possibility: That "Brutus killed Caesar" is undecidable and that science is the only way to determine the truth, which makes the Brutus question irrelevant, as I pointed out. You are making a lot of implicit assumptions just to support the claim that the Brutus question is even decidable at all.

Anonymous VryeDenker October 29, 2013 6:13 AM  

All I can say is that I prayed for help writing my physical sciences final and I scored 10% higher than usual without putting in any extra effort. Surely that counts as God granting insight into scientific questions?

Blogger Desiderius October 29, 2013 6:13 AM  

"Desiderius: methinks you protest too much. Vox likes to do his share of trolling accompanied by a chorus of snickering from the likes of you, but when someone comes here and trolls you reach for your top hat and monocle. Don't make me lol"

"It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool; this also is vanity."

No top hats or monocles required.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus October 29, 2013 6:36 AM  

Ann Morgan: "3. It probably isn't a good idea to try to force everyone to breed only with others we regard as 'good', since we don't know what conditions will be in the future, and some trait we now regard as 'bad' might turn out to be useful in the future."

Maybe you haven't been keeping up with current events, but we (whites) are the ones being forced, collectively, to breed with others that are regarded by those in power as "good", namely non-whites. Mass immigration plus forced integration is genocide by blending away.

(At best, even if it doesn't come to violence, which it likely will, as non-whites cherish grievances against whites, and learn more every day from the mass media and academia.)

We are the ones being eliminated in this way, the ones losing our breeding habitat and our future. We are not the ones dictating whom others in their own countries will breed with, nor is there any question of us doing that.

(What would be do: issue orders to Red China? I don't think so.)

We are not the racial mad scientists; rather those playing a leading role in promoting "anti-racism" (which is antiwhitism) as mass immigration policy are the racial "mad scientists".

Ann Morgan: "For instance, if the sun suddenly gets much hotter, dark skin is going to be useful regardless of your personal racial prejudices. Genetic variety is a good safeguard against extinction."

By framing things in this way, you are making it clear that the people you see forcing everybody in the world to breed to order are whites motivated by a racial preference for their own skin color, and those you see being forced out of existence are non-whites or perhaps more specifically blacks. That is wrong, on so many levels. You present a fantasy of whites as racial aggressors in power, globally, which is completely at odds with reality. This is the kind of "evil, all-powerful whites" fantasy which is used to justify actual, real-world white genocide.

Blogger James Dixon October 29, 2013 6:48 AM  

> That you accept that "Brutus killed Caesar" as a "truth" and equate that "truth" with many other kinds of "truth", scientific "truths" included, is your problem, and something you should probably try to untangle.

I'd say that you're the one that needs to untangle their understanding of truth, not Vox. His understanding seems far more in accord with reality than yours.

Anonymous Rufus October 29, 2013 7:02 AM  

Refer Ancel Keys and the whole "eat animal fat => get high cholesterol => get heart disease" myth. What a load of horseshit.

Billions of dollars wasted, incorrect public health policy being promulgated for 50 years spanning the western world, millions of statin prescriptions issued - and all based on a lie.

Anonymous teddles October 29, 2013 7:08 AM  

That you accept that "Brutus killed Caesar" as a "truth" and equate that "truth" with many other kinds of "truth", scientific "truths" included, is your problem, and something you should probably try to untangle.

I'd like to untangle this too.
Please tell me, PrayingHard - How many kinds of truth are there?

Anonymous VD October 29, 2013 7:17 AM  

You might as well have asked him if "gdfaghdsfhlkj==skldjghsdfajkhg on planet dflghaslg"

I find it fascinating that you are seriously attempting to argue that everything historical is both meaningless and unknowable. You really don't appear to understand how philosophically inept your position is.

There is a third possibility: That "Brutus killed Caesar" is undecidable and that science is the only way to determine the truth, which makes the Brutus question irrelevant, as I pointed out.

No, that is not a possibility. Decidability is irrelevant. Either the event happened or it did not. Either the statement is true or it is false. Now it's your turn to answer two questions.

Did Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger kill Gaius Julius Caesar?

Did the united States of America fight and win the Revolutionary War?

Anonymous AM: October 29, 2013 7:43 AM  

If I had time, unlimited funds and 100 years to test, I can prove the Revolutionary War happened with a beaker and
bunsun burner. Science can prove anything. But you just keep saying "Jeebus did it", m'kay?

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 8:01 AM  

Adequate for what purpose?

Adequate for referring to the position with the word "know" instead of "think" or "guess".

Anonymous daddynichol October 29, 2013 8:35 AM  

PrayingHard has familiar smell.

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 8:38 AM  

PrayingHard has familiar smell.

Myself, I think he is Chickenpox. I'm just waiting to see if he starts using lots of crude, homosexual metaphors.

Blogger Bernard Brandt October 29, 2013 8:44 AM  

Did Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger kill Gaius Julius Caesar

As a matter of historical fact, no, Brutus did not kill Caesar alone. The historical record appears to be that Brutus was among a group of conspirators, including Publius Servilius Casca Longus, who attacked Caesar with knives on the Roman Senate floor on the Ides of March. Casca struck the first blow. Many more were struck; so many, in fact, that it is said that the conspirators stabbed one another in the process. But it is said that when Caesar saw that Brutus was among his attackers, Caesar stopped defending himself, drew a fold of his toga over his head, and allowed his attackers to kill him. By the bye, the 'famous last words' commonly held to be said by Caesar ('Et tu, Brute'), were in fact put in Julius Caesar's mouth by Shakespeare, in the eponymous play. The witnesses of the time say instead that he looked upon Brutus, and said Kai su, paide (Greek: "and you, too, child.")

Did the United States of America fight and win the Revolutionary War.

No, or at least, not immediately. The Revolutionary forces were divided, and greatly outnumbered by the British forces. It was only because there was a much greater war taking place in Europe that George III signed the Treaty of Paris in 1883, ceding control of North America for the time to the French, the Spanish and the Revolutionaries. Great Britain continued to harry the fledgling U.S., however, and it was not until the War of 1812 that, after a long and bloody battle to attempt to retake the colonies, Britain finally abandoned that attempt.

I write these things, not to twit Vox, nor to attempt to undermine his argument, but to support his underlying thesis: there are other means of inquiry other than the scientific method which can be used in order to ascertain the available facts, in the historical, the literary, the political, and the physical worlds. The attempt by the Logical Positivists to say that scientific truth is the only truth humans can know has long been fried and exploded as the canard it is (Peking Duck, anyone?).

The only ones still believing that tired lie are those still retaining their touching faith in Science as their one god, and Darwin/Freud/Einstein/Whatever as its prophet.

Anonymous DrTorch October 29, 2013 8:55 AM  

Thanks for the feedback. Orsted's work is definitely important. It was what I was giving credit to Maxwell for. Relativity? Definitely a big advancement in scientific thought, but the impact has been limited.

"I'd say it's probably far more useful to know about genetic inheritance than about evolution for a variety of reasons:"

Actually Ann, I agree completely with you. I have argued for many years that genetics is the basis of biology, not evolution. In terms of academic study, evolution needs genetics, genetics doesn't need evolution. So that just adds a very secular voice to my insistence that evolution is not all that important. Secondary schools would do better to teach students some other science (preferably something true) such as horticulture.

Anonymous VD October 29, 2013 9:14 AM  

As a matter of historical fact, no, Brutus did not kill Caesar alone.

That was not the question. Did Brutus kill Caesar?

No, or at least, not immediately.

The question was not when the USA fought and won the Revolutionary war, but if it did so at any point in history. Nor is the involvement of allies relevant.

I chose the questions carefully in the full knowledge that the individual questioned would likely attempt to be evasive. That being said, you are correct, and "there are other means of inquiry other than the scientific method which can be used in order to ascertain the available facts."

In fact, it should be obvious there must be or no one would have ever known anything prior to Galileo, the Father of Modern Science.

Anonymous Harsh October 29, 2013 9:34 AM  

@PrayingHard

OK how would you qualify a follow up question that carries with it a ban if it isn't answered?

It's a pretty easy concept. You have to answer questions that ask you to back up your assertions. Random questions don't fall under that rule. The only people that seem to have trouble with this are those that are used to evading, moving goal posts, or otherwise "arguing" by means of logical fallacy and not being called on it.

Blogger Markku October 29, 2013 9:46 AM  

OK how would you qualify a follow up question that carries with it a ban if it isn't answered? Should it be related to the original claim, and if so in what way? And does Vox's question meet the requirements, keeping in mind that you've already admitted that it doesn't follow from the original claim?

"Follow" was your own word, I've used the word "relevant" from the beginning. Now, I don't decide what is a breach of rule #2, but historically my impression is that one follow-up question has always fallen within the responsibility of the original claim, ESPECIALLY if the first answer was at all evasive, and the follow-up question is for clarifying the ambiguity.

Obviously eventually there will be a point where the amount of follow-up questions would just get ridiculous. That's usually when the person being questioned asks Vox if he indeed needs to keep answering. Also, as a general rule, if the question is obviously rhetorical, it doesn't need to be answered. For example, "why are you being such a dickhead?"

Blogger Monaka der Hund October 29, 2013 10:07 AM  

@wrf3: Hint - VD says "making it clear that science is not even a serious contender for being a means of determining the truth". That's a dismissal, wouldn't you think?

Anonymous Sir_Chancealot October 29, 2013 11:00 AM  

Watching Vox work his logic on these guys is something to behold. The patience he displays is actually quite impressive. The way I deal with some of the idiocy shown by the anklebiters on here would be more along the lines of "You're an idiot. Go away." (in person, anyway)

And I most decidedly do not care what Caesar's last words actually were, we're retconning that shit to "Et, Tu, Brute"

Anonymous VanDerMerwe October 29, 2013 11:06 AM  

That you accept that "Brutus killed Caesar" as a "truth" and equate that "truth" with many other kinds of "truth", scientific "truths" included, is your problem, and something you should probably try to untangle.

Ok, so scientific inquiry can be used to determine scientific truths, but not moral, mathematical, logical, historical, etc truths.

Anonymous Eric Ashley October 29, 2013 11:48 AM  

Not sure that this would be Science, but hypothetically you could travel 2057 lightyears into space aboard your starship (perhaps stolen from Area 51?), turn a telescope of vast dimension toward Earth, and wait. Then watch Julius Caesar get stabbed.

And peer review....that's what happens when you ask a couple English nobles what they think of Shakespeare, right?

Should write a story about a Lucky Lad and a 'Scientist' Project Leader trapped inside an abandoned alien base with some others. There is a ton of info available, but most is corrupt. The 'Scientist' doesn't want to admit this, but the only way the Human Expeditionary Team gets back to Earth is to trust to Luck in choosing which techs to trust.

Blogger wrf3 October 29, 2013 12:06 PM  

Monaka der Hund asked: That's a dismissal, wouldn't you think?

IMO, it's a question of theory vs. practice. In theory, the scientific method can be an excellent way to see past our mental illusions. Quantum mechanics and relativity, for example, clearly show that how we normally view the world isn't how the world really is. In practice, science is done by highly fallible humans who seem to be getting worse at correcting their mistakes. It is this increasing human error that Vox is pointing out.

Blogger IM2L844 October 29, 2013 12:27 PM  

Nowhere in that quote can you see Paul Feyerabend clearly say that science simple means finding the truth.

And nowhere did I say science simply means finding the truth. What I said goes to methodology. Feyerabend's attitude is that there are no useful and exceptionless methodological rules governing the progress of science. Hence, reading a newspaper can't be axiomatically excluded as a proper method for acquiring viable scientific data and evidence.

What I implied, if not explicitly said, was that the concept of "any action" was closer to being right than the very narrow "specific action only" of accepting falsifiable empirical data as scientifically viable and excluding anything else.

While I may not agree with every detail of Feyerabend's thesis, I do agree with his overall sentiments on the subject.

Anonymous Jack Amok October 29, 2013 12:43 PM  

Did Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger kill Gaius Julius Caesar?

Did the united States of America fight and win the Revolutionary War?


Did the period of European history from AD 614 to AD 911 actually occur or not?

That is perhaps the more interesting intersection of "science" and history, as there is "scientific evidence" on both sides of the question. But the nature of that evidence requires some debate about just what qualifies as "science." On the supporting side is a lack of archeological finds dating to that time period. On the con side is astronomy (though still reliant to some degree on historical records). And underlying the whole question is the simple truth that science is only as good as the data that goes into it.

A shocking amount of what is called science today puts very little effort into gathering reliable data. Daniel Fahrenheit was so adamant about getting good data that he invented a critical - and difficult to create at the time - instrument for accurately measuring temperature. Today's "scientists" are more interested in the output than the input.

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 12:53 PM  

@ IM2L844

If you take Feyerabend's sentiments seriously then there is no such thing as science. Or, rather, any definition of science is arbitrary.

Frankly, if the word "science" disappeared tomorrow I think the world would be a better place.

Blogger Desiderius October 29, 2013 1:02 PM  

"The attempt by the Logical Positivists to say that scientific truth is the only truth humans can know has long been fried and exploded as the canard it is (Peking Duck, anyone?).

The only ones still believing that tired lie are those still retaining their touching faith in Science as their one god, and Darwin/Freud/Einstein/Whatever as its prophet."

And... that's what I thought too. Then along came a generation who seem to find it the sine qua non of sophisticated thought. Smug about it too, they are.

Blogger Bernard Brandt October 29, 2013 1:10 PM  

Desideratus,

As to your statement, "And... that's what I thought too. Then along came a generation who seem to find it the sine qua non of sophisticated thought. Smug about it too, they are."

I would agree with you there. But as that founding member of the Comedian Party, and the unacknowledged bastard member of the Marx Brothers, Karl, once said, "History repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce."

Anonymous civilServant October 29, 2013 1:43 PM  

Did the united States of America fight and win the Revolutionary War?

Perhaps one should distinguish between personal experience and unchallenged belief. We read assertions that the war occurred. There are no counter-assertions either written or experienced now. Therefore we accept that the event occurred - but only because there is no foundation for belief otherwise. Of the event itself we have no personal knowledge at all.

Science deals in replicable personal experience.

Anonymous GG October 29, 2013 1:58 PM  

"Science deals in replicable personal experience."

Kind of a trippy idea, but even that is not truly "science". Personal human experience cannot be truly replicated perfectly because we are always changing, our views, our perceptions, our knowledge.The best you can hope for in science is a "theory" which is good, but it's still just a theory, meaning the best answer we have, but not an absolute Truth.

I keep saying, the Truth can stand alone and defend itself, but science demands we constantly challenge it. The moment we stop it's not science anymore, it's just propaganda.

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 2:06 PM  

Science deals in replicable personal experience.

Since we don't need the word "science" to have replicable experiences there is no need for that word, at all. It's a word that is purely rhetorical.

Anonymous DrTorch October 29, 2013 2:47 PM  

A shocking amount of what is called science today puts very little effort into gathering reliable data.

Interesting, b/c a poster at Maggies Farm a few weeks back had a quote from someone who said that he was "just collecting data" and not doing science. My thought was proper data collection is a huge part of doing science.

Since we don't need the word "science" to have replicable experiences there is no need for that word, at all.
Nonsense.

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 2:52 PM  

@ DrTorch

Why do we need the term "science" to facilitate replicable experiences. An explanation, besides "nonsense", would have been nice.

Would Einstein have been incapable of offering his explanation of general relativity had the word "science" not existed?

Anonymous DrTorch October 29, 2013 3:50 PM  

Jonathan- are you more content with "pointless semantics"? Of course I have no need to use the phrase "pointless semantics" b/c I can use the word nonsense. We may not need that word, but it's useful, and certainly saves characters over "relicable experiences."

Additionally, yours was a non sequitor. Science does deals in replicable personal experience (well some "historical science" maybe not so much) whether we need the word science or not.

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 3:59 PM  

@ DrTorch

Then we agree. The term "science" is needless, vague and misleading and we would be better served using the more precise "replicable experiences".

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 4:00 PM  

Discussing terminology isn't "pointless semantics" if there is terminology that is vague or misleading. Myself, I don't use the term "science", at all, and it doesn't seem to affect my ability to describe anything.

Blogger James Dixon October 29, 2013 4:06 PM  

> Myself, I don't use the term "science", at all, and it doesn't seem to affect my ability to describe anything.

That's debatable. :)

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 4:20 PM  

That's debatable. :)

Smiley face? Seriously? What are you, a 12 year old girl?

Anonymous Jonathan October 29, 2013 4:31 PM  

Further, James, your comment implies that I have a poor ability to describe things. Even were that true you would need to present an argument as to how my non-usage of the term "science" inhibits that low ability even further. Jesus, you're a piece of work.

Anonymous Pox Vay October 29, 2013 5:47 PM  

Let me clear up these stupid Vox questions for everyone. The study of history is a science. Any truth that can be determined, must be determined by science of one sort or another. Is reading a newspaper science? No. Because reading the newspaper does not constitute determining the truth. The journalist may have partook in a sort of science before writing his/her article, but that doesn't make the reader a scientist.

Anonymous Mr. Scientific October 29, 2013 5:48 PM  

"Can't be validated" does not mean that the results were tested and found wanting.  It means that there were no published results of other studies which got the same results.  Given how hard it is to get research money and how unlikely it is that reproduction of previous studies is going to rank higher than original research for funding, this should surprise no one.

If you want to fix it, get your governments to make a separate and good-sized pot of money ONLY for reproducing and verifying other study results.

Blogger James Dixon October 29, 2013 8:01 PM  

> Smiley face? Seriously? What are you, a 12 year old girl?

Well, you know the line that goes .... if they can't take a joke?

> Further, James, your comment implies that I have a poor ability to describe things.

It implies that you might have, yes. It makes no absolute statement one way or the other.

> Even were that true you would need to present an argument as to how my non-usage of the term "science" inhibits that low ability even further.

If I had said that the statement was false, you would have a point. I said it was debatable. The very fact that you're expecting an argument sort of proves my point.

> Jesus, you're a piece of work.

It's been noted by lots of people other than you, in both positive and negative fashions. Asher comes to mind, for instance.

> The study of history is a science.

Funny, I distinctly remember my university offering a BA in history, not a BS. Oh well, I'm sure that was because it was a backwards out of the way place that no one has ever heard of. Not like it produced Rhodes Scholars or anything, right?

As with numerous others in the past, Pox, you need to learn that your claiming something repeatedly still doesn't make it so.

Anonymous TWS October 29, 2013 8:42 PM  

Pox you really truly do not understand the question or you are dissembling. Please stop. I see nothing wrong or out of place with using science where it is appropriate. Nor do I believe science is Truth. It is a tool and can be used misused and out-right faked. Reading your posts makes me ready to join the Luddites or Amish or something.

P.S. Prayinghard = Kilo Papa

Blogger Desiderius October 29, 2013 10:43 PM  

"Any truth that can be determined, must be determined by science of one sort or another."

Which sort of science would you recommend I employ to determine the truth of the above statement?

Anonymous Ann Morgan October 30, 2013 2:09 AM  

Markku- my apologies for not answering your question, my stupid internet conked out on me again last night.

In regards to your question as to whether we know if Brutus killed Caesar - based on the very little I know of history, I'd say we do know that. However, I think I see where this is leading, and the murder of Caesar by Brutus differs from miracles and supposed rules of God in the bible in a couple of ways:

1. The people who claim (whether rightly or wrongly) that Brutus killed Caesar generally do not have an agenda that goes along with that claim which involves that justifies hating certain people or that others should or must change their behavior - or else. If they did, I'd be suspicious of their claims. Which is one big reason why I am suspicious of the global warming claims. The fact that those making the claims seem to exempt themselves from the changes in behavior they want to impose on others makes me further suspicious of their claims.

2. There are plenty of modern day cases of people being stabbed to death. If I had no conscience, and wanted to satisfy my curiosity, I could go stab someone to death myself and determine that it was possible for someone to be stabbed to death. The supposed miracles and communication by God, for whatever reason, does not have well documented modern day examples and cannot be repeated on demand. This makes statements about a human being stabbing Caesar to death much more plausible to my mind, than statements about God.

Mind you, I don't disbelieve in God, though the nature of the sort of God I believe in would be extremely time consuming to explain. However, I have seen things that I would classify under what people would refer to as 'the supernatural', such as my cat once chasing a ghost of a mouse that disappeared in front of my eyes. Which I admittedly can't prove, and there could be other explanations, such as my having a very realistic dream, or needing new eyeglasses. I tend more towards believing it was actually the mouse's ghost, myself. However, the fact that a mouse has a ghost really says nothing about the particular rules and opinions of whatever 'God' gave the mouse the ghost, other than that he saw fit to allow at least that particular mouse to have a ghost.

Anonymous Ann Morgan October 30, 2013 2:22 AM  

Dr Torch wrote: **Actually Ann, I agree completely with you. I have argued for many years that genetics is the basis of biology, not evolution. In terms of academic study, evolution needs genetics, genetics doesn't need evolution.**

Torch - evolution in a very strict sense is defined as 'A change in the frequency of alleles (genes) in a given population'. It is actually going on all the time, every time someone is born or dies, evolution occurs. Particularly if the person (or other organism) is born with a mutation. If you selectively breed for a trait in a plant or animal, evolution is going on.

Which some posters here have referred to 'micro-evolution', and said that that is possible, but macro-evolution that creates whole new species does not occur. I believe macro-evolution does occur, but it takes such a long time, that it's really not particularly useful to us. As it is, evolution is like a car, it's useful for getting to the grocery store, or even from NY to LA, but although it could get to the nearest star in theory, if there were a road going there, it would take such a long time to do so that it would be pointless to speculate over such a trip, and the fact that we might have travelled that far in the past might be interesting, but not useful.

The thing is with admitting micro evolution but denying macro evolution, is that you are thereby actually making the process of evolution more complex than it really needs to be, by adding in some sort of extra limitting factor, to prevent macro evolution from occuring. I'm not saying that there isn't a limitting factor, some things do have limitting factors (such as the speed of light regarding the velocity of objects with mass). But it makes evolution more complex, and you'd have to explain what prevents things from mutating beyond a certain point and why, and also explain how this limitting factor doesn't prevent some very drastic mutations, such as doubling or quadrupling the number of chromosomes in plants in only one generation.

Anonymous Ann Morgan October 30, 2013 2:34 AM  

Some thoughts:

1. Science could be describe as a 'machine' (or process) that can be very useful for determining the truth.
2. However, just because a machine CAN be used for something, does not mean that it WILL be used for that. A hammer CAN be used to pound nails, but an idiot can slam a hammer into a pud pie all day and not drive a single nail.
3. The fact that idiots or dishonest people are not using science correctly, and therefore not getting a good percentage of accurate answers does not mean that science has 'failed' any more than an idiot using a hammer to pound mud pies instead of nails means that the hammer has 'failed'.
4. Regardless of the reason why science is not producing a good percentage of accurate answers, whether it has failed or is not being used properly, that does not mean that other methods which have never been able to get very accurate answers are now somehow a good means of getting them. If a hammer is being used to pound mud pies, or even if the hammer breaks, that doesn't mean that a test tube or other object which was never able to pound nails before, is now suddenly going to be able to do so.

Anonymous Vandermerwe October 30, 2013 5:32 AM  

"Is reading a newspaper science? No. Because reading the newspaper does not constitute determining the truth."

What an astonishing thing to say. So when you read something you don't make sure you're understanding what you're reading, that you're processing the text correctly (you know sometimes we misread things) and that it comes from a reputable/trusthworthy source?

Science as in scientific method has a specific meaning Pox. What you're doing is playing Humpty Dumpty and assigning your own meanings to things. If you go down that route, then we may as well call astrology a science too. Hey even a broken clock is right twice per day.

Blogger James Dixon October 30, 2013 6:19 AM  

> The people who claim (whether rightly or wrongly) that Brutus killed Caesar generally do not have an agenda that goes along with that claim

So, Ann, in your opinion, what "agenda" could people possibly have that would cause them to claim a man rose from the dead, even when they knew imprisonment, torture, or even death were the almost certain result?

Anonymous TWS October 30, 2013 11:29 AM  

Ann, God loves you and wants you to accept him. The only way to accept him is on his terms. The misfortune in your life is hard for you to bear. I understand that. Trying to force God to accept you on your terms will only lead to sadness in this life and the next.

Not everything is about you Ann, but one thing is, your salvation. Do not be so prideful that you reject God.

Anonymous Mr. Scientific October 30, 2013 8:49 PM  

This responder to Ann Morgan is a poster child for the sort of believer who makes thinking people run screaming from anything that smacks of religion:

Ann, God loves you and wants you to accept him. The only way to accept him is on his terms. The misfortune in your life is hard for you to bear. I understand that. Trying to force God to accept you on your terms will only lead to sadness in this life and the next.

Shorter TWS:  "If you take evolution (and probably much else in science, like cosmology) seriously, so that my dogma is questioned, you are going to hell."

Isaac Newton was a devout (even fanatic) Christian, but he doggedly investigated the natural universe to try to understand any rules or laws which governed it (such rules and laws being, by Newton's understanding, from God).  TWS's attitude is opposite:  answer in dogma, no questions allowed.

TWS, there are people on this earth who never could have produced an Isaac Newton.  The most obvious are the Muslims.  You belong with them.

Anonymous Anonymous October 30, 2013 11:56 PM  

James Dixon wrote:

**So, Ann, in your opinion, what "agenda" could people possibly have that would cause them to claim a man rose from the dead, even when they knew imprisonment, torture, or even death were the almost certain result?**

James, people who are willing to PERSONALLY suffer a great deal for something in order to have it their way, probably believe it. It may even be true, I can't say.

However, you are conflating Christian martyrs who were willing to personally suffer for their beliefs, with other Christians, who are far more interested in altering the behavior of others because of their 'beliefs'.

Also, some people who have committed horrible acts (such as muslim terrorists) would probably rather actually die than to give up their personal religious beliefs, since doing the latter would mean they would have to confront the fact that the blood on their hands was put their by themselves, rather than the command of some 'god'.

Blogger Markku October 31, 2013 10:24 AM  

In regards to your question as to whether we know if Brutus killed Caesar - based on the very little I know of history, I'd say we do know that. However, I think I see where this is leading, and the murder of Caesar by Brutus differs from miracles and supposed rules of God in the bible in a couple of ways:

At this point, the debate only revolves around the question "is science the only way to know?" to which the answer is unequivocally "no" if indeed we know who killed Caesar.

After that is established (and it doesn't look like the original detractors are going to), comes the time to discuss what level of confidence warrants what kind of decisions. That would be a more complex matter. But, amusingly, we don't have to go there because the opposing side is kind enough to make such preposterous claims that defending against them doesn't require any effort at all. Hopefully they won't wise up.

Blogger James Dixon October 31, 2013 2:21 PM  

> However, you are conflating Christian martyrs who were willing to personally suffer for their beliefs, with other Christians

No, I'm doing nothing of the kind. I meant exactly what I asked. I merely wanted your personal opinion on what possible motive the disciples of Jesus could have had, since they were obviously claiming that others should change their behavior. I appreciate the honestly on your part.

Some folks do like to claim an ulterior motive, and while I've never found them convincing I was wondering about your opinion on the matter.

Anonymous Anonymous October 31, 2013 11:51 PM  

James Dixon: Regarding the particular agenda of Christians I object to, generally they want others to alter their sex lives. Sometimes they claim there will be an 'eternal reward' for doing so, and 'eternal punishment' for failing to do so. Neither of which they are able to prove (and the moment at which it will supposedly be either proven or disproven is conveniently just exactly one second too late to do anything about it). Other times, they resort to getting the government to pass various laws to impose their particular religious views regarding sex on other people.

As for modern day Christians not being willing to suffer for their claimed beliefs, I doubt that many of them would be able to pass my litmus test in this regard. What this means is, finding out how much a Christian who CLAIMS that a very small embryo or fertilized egg is the equivalent of a child would be willing to suffer (or risk suffering) in order to save the life of an actual child. Say, a 3 year old.

I imagine at least some of them would run into a burning building to save the 3 year old. However, I find myself extremely doubtful that those same Christians who would run into a burning building to save a 3 year old would run into the same burning building to prevent a woman from getting an abortion at an early stage, or to prevent her from taking birth control pills.

Anonymous Anonymous October 31, 2013 11:56 PM  

Markku wrote: **At this point, the debate only revolves around the question "is science the only way to know?" to which the answer is unequivocally "no" if indeed we know who killed Caesar.**

That's true. It is possible to know things, with a pretty fair degree of certainty, by other methods. However - that does not mean that the other methods are always going to give correct information. People sometimes lie, other times are mistaken for various reasons. I know I've had some pretty realistic dreams. Once I showed up at work when I wasn't supposed to because I had a very realistic dream that my boss had told me to come in that day. However, the more fantastic the story someone tells me, or the more 'agenda' they seem to have, the more suspicious I generally get.

Anonymous Anonymous November 01, 2013 12:01 AM  

As another example of an 'agenda', let's say hypothetically some documents were discovered in some ancient Roman ruins stating that Brutus was an extremely upstanding person, a devoted friend of Caesar's, and that he and Caesar were planning on March 16th to expose the evil corruption of several Roman senators. Well, now I would have some doubt about Brutus killing Caesar, because you now have some people (the corrupt senators) with a clear motive both for killing Caesar, and for framing Brutus for the act.

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