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Thursday, January 08, 2015

The costs of scientistry

A scientist laments the loss of scientific credibility:
If we want to use scientific thinking to solve problems, we need people to appreciate evidence and heed expert advice. But the Australian suspicion of authority extends to experts, and this public cynicism can be manipulated to shift the tone and direction of debates. We have seen this happen in arguments about climate change.

This goes beyond the tall poppy syndrome. Disregard for experts who have spent years studying critical issues is a dangerous default position. The ability of our society to make decisions in the public interest is handicapped when evidence and thoughtfully presented arguments are ignored.

So why is science not used more effectively to address critical questions? We think there are several contributing factors including the rise of Google experts and the limited skills set of scientists themselves. We think we need non-scientists to help us communicate with and serve the public better.

At a public meeting recently, when a well-informed and feisty elderly participant asked a question that referred to some research, a senior public servant replied: “Oh, everyone has a scientific study to justify their position, there is no end to the studies you could cite, I am sure, to support your point of view.”

This is a cynical statement, where there are no absolute truths and everyone’s opinion must be treated as equally valid. In this intellectual framework, the findings of science can be easily dismissed as one of many conflicting views of reality.

Such a viewpoint is dangerous from our point of view.
This is the result of scientists passing off their unscientific opinions as expertise for decades. No one trusts "science" anymore because no one trusts scientists. Everyone has seen too many idiots with advanced degrees and white coats trying to pull the Dennett Demarche, in which the scientist argues that biologists can be trusted because physics is very accurate.

This is why a clear distinction between scientody, the scientific method, and scientistry, the profession of science, is absolutely necessary. But because men are corrupt and fallen, too many scientists find it too useful to be able to cloak their unscientific (and all too often uneducated), opinions under the veil of scientific expertise.

And the writer undercuts his own argument when he laments that "evidence" (which may be scientific) and "thoughtfully presented arguments" (which have absolutely nothing to do with science) are ignored. Because the fact is that logic is not science, it is philosophy, and philosophy is exactly what scientody is designed to counteract.

Furthermore, science is intrinsically dynamic. So listening to the "real experts" in science is a guaranteed way to ensure that one ignores both logic, and in many cases, reality.

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94 Comments:

Anonymous Earl January 08, 2015 3:39 AM  

Philosophers invented science to collect data in order to work out the divine mind and achieve moral living.

Anonymous rho January 08, 2015 3:43 AM  

This is the result of scientists passing off their unscientific opinions as expertise for decades. No one trusts "science" anymore because no one trusts scientists.

What?

You published a curriculum from a scientist.

Blogger WarKicker January 08, 2015 4:02 AM  

Stephen Hawking - "Philosophy is dead"

It is disappointing to see someone brilliant make face-palm worthy statements, missing the self defeating nature of such an assertion.

Anonymous Daniel January 08, 2015 4:16 AM  

rho, read it again. Science is in quotation marks.

Blogger Krul January 08, 2015 4:35 AM  

philosophy is exactly what scientody is designed to counteract.

How's that? I know that certain modern famous figures associated with science have thoughtlessly claimed that science has rendered philosophy obsolete, but the method itself was not designed to counteract philosophy, was it?

But the Australian suspicion of authority extends to experts

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
-Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury

Blogger Dago January 08, 2015 4:55 AM  

Vox,
I have to disagree. How is Logic not truly scientific in nature? Without logic we would not even have any science to begin with. The whole of science is merely a subset of philosophy after all.

Anonymous Porphyry January 08, 2015 5:00 AM  

"How is Logic not truly scientific in nature?" note: "real experts" not science in general

Anonymous Porphyry January 08, 2015 5:02 AM  

@krul: its like this yo: scientody is an intellectual validation circle. The exact opposite of philosophy

Blogger Rantor January 08, 2015 5:13 AM  

I have come to the conclusion that many scientists are liars and many of the rest are blindly faithful credentialists. We can now see decades of global warming projections that have not come true. This minimally means that their computer models are flawed and thus unreliable or that their hypothesis is wrong. So we have an Australian scientest who thinks he can fix his bad hypotheses by hiring political scientists and marketeers to sell it to the public. I don't think he knows what he is saying, but that is synonymous with a call for propagandists to tell his story.

To condense his thoughtcrime: the people are too stupid to understand science so we must use mass market propaganda to make them believe what we say.

It is 7 degrees in Washington DC this morning and there is snow on the ground. Twenty years ago the global warming propagandist, Al Gore, told us this would no longer be happening. There are days like today when I, in a bout of weakness, wish warming was true and it was only 50 degrees out.

Blogger Myles January 08, 2015 5:17 AM  

To quote Sir Martin Rees "I know Stephen Hawking well enough to know that he has read very little philosophy and even less theology, so I don't think we should attach any weight to his views on this topic,"

Blogger JP January 08, 2015 5:23 AM  

Science is a tool for observing the natural world. Logic is drawing conclusions based on information.

The moment you draw conclusions from what you saw, you are no longer doing science, you are engaged in deductive reasoning, which is philosophy.

It goes like this: because Logic came before Science, Logic is not Scientific, Science is Logical. You can't be your own father.

Anonymous HalibetLector January 08, 2015 6:04 AM  

To extend on what JP said, logic is not science, it's math. Math has their own way of figuring out the truth that has nothing to do with the scientific method (proofs).

Blogger Scintimandrion January 08, 2015 6:04 AM  

Ironically for someone who would presumably champion critical thinking and freedom of inquiry, this fellow seems bent on introducing a system like the caricature of the European Middle Ages, where the Church was supposedly the shadowy power behind every throne. (I'm not much of a historian, so I don't know how true that is, but probably less true than the post-Enlightenment myth makers would have us believe.)

His deploring of the rise of the "Google expert", for instance, suggests that he's uncomfortable with individual scientists communicating directly with the public. Instead, he presumably wants scientists to have their battles privately, preferably using technical jargon that's incomprehensible to anyone not actually trained in the field (cf. the priests using Latin as a working language). Then, when a consensus or supermajority comes to an agreement, the authorised spokespeople will make an announcement, cleverly marketed (of course) to bureaucrats and politicians and the public, about what should be believed.

He also laments that scientists aren't believed in general. Well, isn't it the whole point of critical thinking that you aren't supposed to accept a claim just because it happens to come from an authority figure? Oh, but scientists aren't like priests and all the rest, because we actually have The Truth™ on our side. So unless you're a fellow scientist, you should just accept what we say without question.

And, of course, we need a technocracy. Politicians and civil servants are corrupt, venal, and concerned with their own reputation. But scientists are as pure as the driven snow, and concerned only with Observing The Facts and Discovering The Truth. And of course scientists make mistakes, but no scientist would ever deliberately set out to mislead, oh no, not even when reputations and grant money are at stake. So if the scientific community agrees on something, it must be Factual and True, and any policy proposal based on the finding must be The Right Thing To Do, and any politician or official who actually cared about the well-being of his country would, indeed must, adopt it without hesitation!

Anonymous zen0 January 08, 2015 6:06 AM  

Disregard for experts who have spent years studying critical issues is a dangerous default position.

It is actually more akin exercising one's survival instinct, given the amount of fraud in the system. A healthy suspicion of scientists is no less important to have than a healthy suspicion of politicians and journalists.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 08, 2015 6:08 AM  

"But because men are corrupt and fallen, too many scientists find it too useful to be able to cloak their unscientific (and all too often uneducated), opinions under the veil of scientific expertise."

Whenever I see something like this I wonder: "what would be the proper number?"

But in this case, that doesn't cut it. Whatever the proper number is, we are way, way over it.

I can imagine professional science being in such an over-supervised state that nobody was speaking out of turn, at the cost of nobody publishing much either. That's not our problem.

Anonymous clk January 08, 2015 6:15 AM  

Ah so its ok to use sjw rabbit style kungfu as long as its aimed at those you dont agree with ..... oh heal thyself first doctor.

"This is the result of scientists passing off their unscientific opinions as expertise for decades. No one trusts "science" anymore because no one trusts scientists"

Really ... just who is this nobody ? A few people here and the tobacco companies scientists ? Then who do we trust ? When it comes to physics I will weight the opinion of a physicist higher than a economist, and when it comes to car repairs I am more likely to believe the mechanic than my doctor. Its not an insult to economist or doctor ..

"The moment you draw conclusions from what you saw, you are no longer doing science, you are engaged in deductive reasoning, which is philosophy."

Are you kidding me..? I look at the calender and yet I see we are not at april 1st yet.... maybe its just me stuck in sub zero temps that is making me edgy.

Anonymous Patrick Baker January 08, 2015 6:38 AM  

I couldn't agree more. Lately it seems that the Global Warming believers had grown more and more extreme and anxious. Thier latest argument is that because science is right about Newtonian physics; they are right about everything else. That is a just plain stupid. That is like saying because I can fire a cannon, I can also bake a cake.

Blogger jimmy-jimbo January 08, 2015 6:38 AM  

If the scientists think they know more than their pay grade, then the pubic won't trust them.

Blogger Mindstorm January 08, 2015 6:39 AM  

@Scintimandrion
Are you sure that in technocracy scientists would be at the top? Ruling? At the cost, you know, of actually doing science?

Anonymous Objectivist January 08, 2015 6:41 AM  

One reason I prefer science is because you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views. Religion..the opposite of Science.... poisons everything, as demonstrated yesterday.

Anonymous zen0 January 08, 2015 6:47 AM  

> Really ... just who is this nobody ?

Other scientists:

Scientists seek demigod status, journals want blockbuster results, and retractions are on the rise: is science broken?

>I can imagine professional science being in such an over-supervised state that nobody was speaking out of turn, at the cost of nobody publishing much either. That's not our problem.

goto above link and read the first comment

Blogger Plump Pleasant Plumber January 08, 2015 7:02 AM  

I quit believing most scientists when it became apparent that they're political hacks. Once a scientist lies, he no longer is trusted. And when you throw in money and prestige, science becomes politically correct. Nope, don't trust them.

Anonymous WCU January 08, 2015 7:05 AM  

I'm sure those scientist who created nuclear payloads that can obliterate life on our planet many times over are peaceful. I'm equally convinced when they weaponized several known forms fatal diseases they are doing it for pure research. Because SCIENCE. Because PROGRESS.

Blogger Mindstorm January 08, 2015 7:35 AM  

@WCU
I'm sure that the anonymous inventor of knives is responsible of all stabbings that followed.

Anonymous Rhys O'Reilly January 08, 2015 7:49 AM  

The problem for those selling the climate change argument is that science is reasoning with data, and instead of taking their word we can demand to see their data and their reasoning, and in doing so we can expose that the emperor has no clothes.

A brilliant example is the China Study, by T Colin Campbell, that supposedly proved that meat is bad was accepted by the nutrition community for years until a reformed vegan (and now paleo) blogger named Denise Minger (who was only a lowly English grad) did what no one else (not a single scientist) had done and went through his data sets and used his own data to show, step by step, that not only was Campbell wrong but that his data led to the opposite conclusion.

When it comes to climate change all studies are flawed from the null hypothesis which assumes that the Earth's climate is static. Then we have the value judgement that change is bad. There is no scientific explanation as to why, only hypotheses, which, without data, is nothing but philosophy.

The other great problem with climate change science (aside from the sheer incomprehensible magnitude of data and variables) is the over reliance of computer models which do not predict but only extrapolate. GIGO.

Any time you meet a climate change advocate with ocean front property be sure do him a favour and offer to take that soon to be worthless property of his hands.


OT, for Alpha Game, http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/iggy-azalea-denies-marriage-to-hefe-wine-in-court-20150108-12k3el.html

I'm not sure whether to call it black knighting or the beginning of schadenfreude that women as a whole (who are about to out earn men) are going to experience.

Anonymous Laz January 08, 2015 7:50 AM  

" scientody is an intellectual validation circle. The exact opposite of philosophy"

Having known several people who got philosophy degrees in the last 20 years or so, I'd have to say "question everything" seems to be the core value with circular reasoning and invalidation being the tools they use.

Anonymous Porky January 08, 2015 7:57 AM  

One reason I prefer science is because you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views.

What about our secret plan to kill off billions of people by denying global warming?

Anonymous Porky January 08, 2015 8:03 AM  

One reason I prefer science is because you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views.

50 million dead babies because of differing scientific views on when life begins?

Blogger The Anti-Gnostic January 08, 2015 8:03 AM  

wtf Vox. Nothing on the Paris massacre?

Anonymous Rhys January 08, 2015 8:06 AM  

I missed this gem from the article:

"So why do we not want to trust experts in bushfire management,"

Its so called experts appear to be useless. Most of them seem to be city bred idiots sitting in an air conditioned office. Whereas the old farmer asking why they didn't backburn and why they let fools build in the middle of the bush with no fire break has been farming for fifty years and survived more bushfires than he can count. In short, its called experience and when scientific theory and experience collide then experience wins out because its based on reality.

Anonymous hygate January 08, 2015 8:07 AM  

When atheists state that religion poisons everything my reaction is, "What does that mean?"

Its not an argument. Its a shibboleth. I picture them repeating it to each other and nodding knowingly.

Did religion poison communism? How about homeless shelters? Medical missionaries?

Blogger Cataline Sergius January 08, 2015 8:09 AM  

biologists can be trusted because physics is very accurate.

Physics is accurate?

Relativity theory and Quantum are both proven to be the correct description of our universe and both are diametrically opposed to each other.

String Theory is supposed to provide a compromise between the two, except that in forty years String Theory has yet to produce a single predictable event.

Anonymous bw January 08, 2015 8:10 AM  

you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views

No, just systematic brutal murder and warfare and death by the post-modern coercive scientific view, which is simply the political and falsely religious, complete with its high priests, and scriptures, and self justifying blind faith adherents.
Darwin meets Marx, Hitler, and Abortion. How many deaths is that, again?

Anonymous WCU January 08, 2015 8:13 AM  

Yes. Because White Privilege+Patriarchy.

Blogger James Dixon January 08, 2015 8:15 AM  

> Disregard for experts who have spent years studying critical issues is a dangerous default position.
> The ability of our society to make decisions in the public interest is handicapped when evidence and thoughtfully presented arguments are ignored.

The first has little to nothing to do with the second.

> Such a viewpoint is dangerous from our point of view.

And what makes your point of view special, one wonders.

> You published a curriculum from a scientist.

A scientist does not equate to scientists. The individual is not the group.

> ...but the method itself was not designed to counteract philosophy, was it?

The method itself is dependent on the truth of a certain philosophy. But modern scientists don't even understand that.

> Are you kidding me..?

You may wish to consult a good dictionary.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus January 08, 2015 8:23 AM  

"Unfortunately, the popular effect of this scientific advance has been a belief, seemingly shared by many scientists, that the range of our ignorance is steadily diminishing and that we can therefore aim at more comprehensive and deliberate control of all human activities. It is for this reason that those intoxicated by the advance of knowledge so often become the enemies of freedom." (F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, p. 26)

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus January 08, 2015 8:32 AM  

Religion..the opposite of Science.... poisons everything, as demonstrated yesterday.

Snort. 12 down, about 500,000 more to go for "religion" to catch up with the French Revolution and its temples to Reason.

Anonymous Rhys January 08, 2015 8:34 AM  

One final thought:

There is in this article, and others like it, an insidiousness; you should not question authority but do what you're told.

Anonymous Harsh January 08, 2015 8:49 AM  

One reason I prefer science is because you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views.

Fewer rampages, true, but science kills plenty. If, for example, the lipid hypothesis of heart disease proves to be false, how many people have died from incorrect dietary and medical advice?

Religion..the opposite of Science.... poisons everything, as demonstrated yesterday.

Let's forget the fact that you are looking at a single incident to prove your absurd point, but if religion is so poisonous how is it that Western society has thrived for thousands of years whilst being guided by Christianity? Luck?

Blogger ThirdMonkey January 08, 2015 8:50 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger wrf3 January 08, 2015 8:52 AM  

Substitute "religion" for "science" and "priest/pastor" for scientist and it sure sounds familiar.

Poor scientists. Always behind the times.

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." -- Robert Jastrow

Blogger ThirdMonkey January 08, 2015 8:53 AM  

The insidiousness is the beginning of the end of scientific consensus and their self-righteous monopoly on the truth. When cable news started wrestling the monopoly from the networks, I remember Ted Coppel being upset that their customer base dared to get their news from multiple sources. "The news is what we say it is." Science is no longer what the credentialed say it is, and they're Ted Koppel mad.

Anonymous Harsh January 08, 2015 8:54 AM  

Ah so its ok to use sjw rabbit style kungfu as long as its aimed at those you dont agree with ..... oh heal thyself first doctor.

Appeal to rabbitry. Five minutes in the penalty box for you.

Blogger wrf3 January 08, 2015 8:57 AM  

Cataline Sergius wrote: String Theory is supposed to provide a compromise between the two, except that in forty years String Theory has yet to produce a single predictable event.

String Theory is the only game in town: 1, 2.

Anonymous spin doctor January 08, 2015 9:00 AM  

I can land a satellite on a moving comet 300 million miles away and be hailed as a hero . . . but only if I'm wearing the right shirt. The guy's right: scientists need to hire better PR flaks.

Blogger pyrrhus January 08, 2015 9:07 AM  

Indeed, in fields like economics, climate "science", anthropology, and biology (see J.Watson), the "experts" and "scientists" have shown they will simply disregard experimental evidence, no matter how copious, if it leads to unacceptable conclusions.

OpenID cailcorishev January 08, 2015 9:11 AM  

Disregard for experts who have spent years studying critical issues is a dangerous default position.

I bet he wouldn't say that about theologians. Of course, he probably wouldn't consider theology a "critical issue."

On the contrary, the more critical an issue, the more carefully we should vet "experts." Someone who thinks we should trust scientists by default is probably a lazy scientist or a bureaucrat who wants to sell his policies by dressing them in a lab coat.

Anonymous Axe Head January 08, 2015 9:20 AM  

Bruce Charlton in "Not Even Trying" describes science as a research bureaucracy characterized by incompetence and dishonesty.

Blogger Markku January 08, 2015 9:23 AM  

"wtf Vox. Nothing on the Paris massacre?"

Well, right now the massacre is kind of boring. Muslim gonna Muslim. Ho hum. There needs to be some new angle for one to be able to say anything interesting on it.

Blogger Markku January 08, 2015 9:28 AM  

Though, our secret little Ilk coven is very interested in how many minutes it takes from Vox actually posting on it, to someone saying that "it was the Jooooooos!"

But that's mainly for popcorn purposes.

Blogger The Anti-Gnostic January 08, 2015 9:32 AM  

One reason I prefer science is because you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views.

One also rarely hears of murderous rampages caused by differing NFL mock drafts. This is why the NFL mock draft is the highest plane of intellectual inquiry.

Passionate love is actually at the base of a lot of murders. That must be why high-minded Objectivists are so often single and childless.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus January 08, 2015 9:33 AM  

Well, right now the massacre is kind of boring. Muslim gonna Muslim. Ho hum. There needs to be some new angle for one to be able to say anything interesting on it.

Hopefully, this will be the boot to the rear that finally motivates the Europeans to remove the Muslims from their midst and send them back to the middle eastern ratholes from whence they came. It can certainly be done, if enough political will exists to do so. After all, it's not like Europeans don't have experience with rounding up large groups of people at a time, right?

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 9:35 AM  

There is only one true way to know whether a scientist's research *might* be right: do the predictions based on this research pan out?

Note: the scientist might still be wrong. There might be other reasons why the real-world results match the scientists' prediction. But for sure the scientist is wrong if the predictions do NOT pan out.

So with this in mind, the only default rational position IS to distrust scientists. The likelihood of the scientist being wrong is greater than the likelihood of being right. Even a simple mapping of results to prediction is not enough to ensure correctness. The only way to truly validate a scientists's research is via time and hindsight. Much hindsight.

Ergo, anyone who bases all life choices on CURRENT science is de facto living irrationally.

Blogger Josh January 08, 2015 9:37 AM  

So with this in mind, the only default rational position IS to distrust scientists. The likelihood of the scientist being wrong is greater than the likelihood of being right. Even a simple mapping of results to prediction is not enough to ensure correctness. The only way to truly validate a scientists's research is via time and hindsight. Much hindsight.

Aren't both the scientific method and the much beloved peer review originally based on distrust as the default?

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 9:40 AM  

Which is exactly why the world should not push for drastic changes in government policy and societal structure just because some scientists say global warming will happen and will kill us all.

And also exactly why the world should not just freely accept drastic science-driven changes such as GMOs, which we are scientifically assured are safe, but honestly we won't know if they are wrong until it is well past the time to do anything about it.

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 9:42 AM  

Yes, Josh, but the unscientific world doesn't know that. Scientists who try to "reach out" to the public to argue for more trust in science are actually working AGAINST science.

Anonymous Patrick Baker January 08, 2015 9:45 AM  

Objectivist you have clearly never heard of the science of eugenics, called racial hygene in 1930s Germany. Eugenics was "settled science" in 1920s and 30s through most of the Western World. The result of this settled science was mass sterilizations of the "defective", "the feeble minded" and "the useless" or those who had Dasein Ohne Leben (“Existence without Life”). It also lead to the mass killing of such people. Religion in modern times as a lot of catching up to do when it comes to killing as compared to science doing the murdering.

Anonymous Alexander January 08, 2015 9:48 AM  

... Now wait a minute. I believe the Italians did exactly what the scientists want. But then it was all, "oh, you can't hold us responsible for manslaughter."

Which is it champs? You're either policymakers with hard evidence that should be held responsible for such, or you're not and you don't. In which case you're political hacks for claiming otherwise.

Can't have it both ways.

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 9:49 AM  

I note that among the B and C (and sometimes even the A) grades in Hollywood we have reached complete market saturation of disaster movies where the brave scientist--working alone against the corporate and political thugs--manages to save the world from itself. You can practically write these things in your sleep. I'm sure the lower rungs of Hollywood have a boiler room making these things, or perhaps it is just done with software.

One wonders if this is driven by actual movie watcher demand, or is part of some Hollywood/Soros/Greenpeace alliance to "make people understand."

Anonymous Crude January 08, 2015 9:52 AM  

"The ability of our society to make decisions in the public interest is handicapped when evidence and thoughtfully presented arguments are ignored."

They aren't ignored. They are evaluated when provided, and sometimes found lacking. More often, they aren't even provided.

It's starting to become the case that the expressed view of a scientist, even of the supposed scientific consensus, is not enough to end debate. They actually need to provide arguments and evidence to persuade people, and they may not always manage to do so. That's an improvement over the current state of affairs.

Blogger Doom January 08, 2015 9:55 AM  

What an idiot. He is actually using AGW as his only proof of scientific correctness? Oh, no. I am pleased to having him speaking out. I hope more do, and are given the platform from which to speak. It's like handing an excited chimp a loaded weapon. It doesn't just hit his handlers and enablers... ricochet.

As to cynicism being dangerous... All I can say is that he isn't very scientific. Skepticism is a key to science. He pretty much not only proves why he and his aren't believed, but why it is absolutely required that he and they not be believed. He's not in it to find out, he is suggesting he and they know. If they know, it isn't science. Nice little NAZI, marching to a tune his betters beat on a human skin drum of slavery, wondering why we all can't just get along, and in line... like the good little scientists. Laughable if it wasn't proof of the rape of civilization, the surrender of freedom, and an intellectual laziness that is criminal.

Must be nice to make six figures for "teaching" two classes a term and passing fraudulent research, while having the philosophical footing of Manson. Punks. No wonder colleges are useless, actually worse.

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 9:58 AM  

From the article:

If you are flying in an airplane at 30,000 feet, you will not be content with just any scientific study about whether the wing will stay on the plane. Most people will want to put their trust in the calculations of an expert aeronautical engineer who understands the physics of stresses on the wing.

Got that? Trust scientists because engineers.

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 10:06 AM  

How airplanes would work if they were designed by scientists instead of engineers: wings stay on?.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 08, 2015 10:14 AM  

Science can't help you if you are a female police officer confronting mooselimbs with Kalashnikovs and RPGs.

Blogger Josh January 08, 2015 10:23 AM  

Got that? Trust scientists because engineers.

Sheldon Cooper: Engineering - this is where the semi-skilled workers realize the work of better minds. Hello, Oompah-Loompahs of science.

Blogger William Newman January 08, 2015 11:07 AM  

"'thoughtfully presented arguments' (which have absolutely nothing to do with science)"

"The moment you draw conclusions from what you saw, you are no longer doing science, you are engaged in deductive [probably means inductive, or possibly doesn't know the difference] reasoning, which is philosophy."

It's not a simple intellectual path even from (astronomical and mundane) observations to Newton's laws of motion. Somewhere along the line someone has to invent and justify the concepts that let us write the differential equations (or some other nonobvious formalism logically equivalent to those equations). So OK, I guess you can claim "which have absolutely nothing to do with science" or "which is philosophy", but only if you are using the word so idiosyncratically that it excludes Newton's most famous work, so that anyone who knows the first thing about mechanics and/or the history of science in general can shrug and say "whatever."

And FWIW, this is not some idiosyncrasy of classical mechanics. It's common, and indeed the paths to things which were discovered later can be significantly twistier, as in the path to quantum mechanics.

In ordinary usage of the word, someone who can tell you reliably when the moon will rise next New Year's day, or who can tell you reliably what the wavelength of a particular spectral line of a hypothetical new chemical compound will be, is doing science. Whether you think of that as science or not, you can probably at least grasp that it is something importantly useful. I very much doubt you will ever find a way to acquire such precise predictive ability without "thoughtfully presented arguments" or inductive "reasoning, which is philosophy" along the way. Therefore, if you define such arguments out of science or define such reasoning out of science, you have probably defined away the ability to make accurate lunar and spectroscopic predictions, which means you may encounter friction in trying to have a conversation about science with sensible people.

(And FWIW, none of this is to say that the climate policy establishment isn't also totally bewildered about the fundamentals of science.)

Anonymous Bill January 08, 2015 11:16 AM  

One reason I prefer science is because you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views.

Happy birthday, Objectivist! Only two more until you can drive.

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 11:22 AM  

William, we're with you. By "science" most people just means drawing conclusions about the world and the universe by observing what's around you in a systematic manner. But that's not Science by the classical definition. The reason this is important is that scientists (or more properly those who profit from Sciency Stuff) are trying to turn it into a secular priesthood, whose authority must not be questioned. And they of course want to exclude anyone who arrives at conclusions without observing the rituals of entry into their priesthood--which include adherence to the correct Dogma.

Anonymous Bill January 08, 2015 11:23 AM  

@rycamor

That is a crazy quote. Sane people don't even trust engineers in the way that doofus means it.

Remember that grrrl who codes maniac from a few months ago who thought that good programmers' code compiles the first time? The quote is crazy stupid like that.

What you should trust are the prototyping, destructive testing, test flights, and close monitoring of new products. You should trust airplanes not to fall down for the same reason you trust Chartres not to fall down. Trial and error, tested rules of thumb, and trial and error. Definitely not equations.

Blogger Feather Blade January 08, 2015 11:30 AM  

This is a cynical statement, where there are no absolute truths and everyone’s opinion must be treated as equally valid.

AHAHAHAHAHA!

Science, meet moral relativity. Moral relativity has been taught in the schools for the last 60 years. I'm actually surprised you two haven't met before - I know there are projects you've both been involved in.

Anonymous Bill January 08, 2015 11:39 AM  

William, we're with you. By "science" most people just means drawing conclusions about the world and the universe by observing what's around you in a systematic manner. But that's not Science by the classical definition.

What's the "classical definition?" What most people and most scientists mean by science is Positivism. Simplifying pretty wildly, Positivism is the idea that science goes like this:

1. Make up equations or the verbal equivalent of same, call it theory
2 Identify measurements from instruments with the variables in the equations
3. Test the theory . . .
a. Use instruments to set starting values of variables in theory
b. Evolve equations forward in time
c. Note new values of variables
d. Make new measurements with instruments
e. If c=d, then theory not falsified. If c!=d, then theory falsified

Math/logic is so deeply embedded in this process that it is just incoherent to talk about science apart from math/logic.

Blogger Joshua Dyal January 08, 2015 11:40 AM  

In 1974, the late Nobel-prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman, told the graduating students at the California Institute of Technology to cultivate “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty.”

“For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it […] In summary, the idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.”

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.”

“I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the laymen when you’re talking as a scientist….I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is [more than] not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”

Anonymous p-dawg January 08, 2015 11:56 AM  

@"Objectivist": Which religion invented the cannon, the firearm, the missile, the tank, the bomber, the MOAB, the nuclear bomb? Oh, right...those were all the result of science. Yeah, nice point you got there. Better wear a tall hat so nobody sees it.

Anonymous The Lion January 08, 2015 12:33 PM  

Positivism is the idea that science goes like this:

Bill, I think you've got it wrong. I think a lot of non-scientists think that, but it seems the average AGW scientist thinks the ending of your sequence should be:

e. If c=d, then theory is fact and dissent is intolerable blathering of deniers. If c!=d, then falsify data and retry (e).

Anonymous Jill January 08, 2015 12:55 PM  

"This is a cynical statement, where there are no absolute truths and everyone’s opinion must be treated as equally valid." No, that's exactly wrong. It's a cynical position in which the intelligent audience understands the human element in any study or study report and knows that the evidence can be manipulated and/or the scientists' biases can color the interpretation of evidence. An intelligent person will grasp the idea of objective truth, but will be skeptical that they are actually getting the objective truth. Not that long ago, I accidentally brought an Australian scientist to my blog, where he argued with me, mostly over the nuance of language. But what he wouldn't address was the problem of corruption--in other words, the human element. Oh, well. I'm not the type of person who will ever blindly listen to experts. It no doubt becomes a point of both pride and weakness on my part.

Anonymous Jill January 08, 2015 1:04 PM  

One thing I wanted to add is that this scientist mentioned in my above comment wouldn't address my biggest accusation, which is that he and others treat science as though it were a democracy, in which the majority of experts determine truth. If a scientist can't see the problem with that, then I'm afraid I really can't take him seriously.

Blogger rycamor January 08, 2015 1:41 PM  

The Lion January 08, 2015 12:33 PM

Positivism is the idea that science goes like this:

Bill, I think you've got it wrong. I think a lot of non-scientists think that, but it seems the average AGW scientist thinks the ending of your sequence should be:

e. If c=d, then theory is fact and dissent is intolerable blathering of deniers. If c!=d, then falsify data and retry (e).


And these are just the honest ones. The dishonest ones don't bother with c=d in the first place. What they do is look from day one for which included set of values+methodology gives them the answer they are looking for. It's the scientific method turned on its head.

Anonymous Bill January 08, 2015 3:40 PM  

@Lion

LOL

Anonymous Mr. Rational January 08, 2015 4:48 PM  

This is the result of scientists passing off their unscientific opinions as expertise for decades. No one trusts "science" anymore because no one trusts scientists.

It's much more a consequence of orchestrated science denial, most (in)famously and successfully pushed by the tobacco industry in its battle to stop health warnings and measures to regulate second-hand smoke.  The same tactics, same organizations and even the same people have moved on to attack other fields of science, including climatology.

Anonymous Stickwick January 08, 2015 4:58 PM  

Objectivist: One reason I prefer science is because you almost never hear about brutal murderous rampages caused by differing scientific views. Religion..the opposite of Science.... poisons everything, as demonstrated yesterday.

... in which the Objectivist argues that Christians can't be trusted because Muslims are very violent.

It's been a long time since we've had this particular brand of Asperger's-laden humanist dippiness around here. It's so textbook, I wonder if someone's having us on.

Anonymous p-dawg January 08, 2015 5:45 PM  

@Mr. Rational:
"It's much more a consequence of orchestrated science denial, most (in)famously and successfully pushed by the tobacco industry in its battle to stop health warnings and measures to regulate second-hand smoke."

You mean like when OSHA's report about how many thousands of lit cigarettes you'd need to have in a 10x10 room with no ventilation before the levels of any chemical in second-hand smoke would even start to become a problem got buried by CAN-ASH or ASH-CAN or whatever that group was that sued? Or the science showing that car exhaust is many, many times worse for you than second-hand smoke, and except in extreme cases such as giant cities, even that's not terrible. Is that the science denial you were referring to?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus January 08, 2015 7:50 PM  

zen0: "goto above link and read the first comment"

It was worth reading.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar January 08, 2015 9:11 PM  

Here's everything you need to know about logic:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lu5_5Od7WY

Franz Boas ruined Anthropology with his massive frauds "proving" that non-White savages are not more primitive than White Western Civilization, with his crazy bitch follower Margaret Mead who claimed an island of natives who had a male chief and warriors who were all male was a matriarchy!
Let's not forget Stephen J. Gould the biggest fraudster in science since the inventor of snake oil who LIED about non-White and black skulls having much smaller brain cases than White Europeans to combat White Supremacy!
Both just happened to be Jews the biggest liars in the world, and the cause of all the wars and misery on the Earth.

Global Warming/Climate Change is the latest knife they stuck in the back of White Western Civilization to prove that civivlization is bad for you, and you'll be much happier as a slave to small-dicked insane fat bald stupid Jews who just happen to be Satanists.

Science, like the Media, Academia and Government is suffering from a terminal infection by lying Jews with gigantic egos and tiny misshapen brains with delusions of grandeur which have caused at least 100,000,000 deaths in the Twentieth Century alone.

Anonymous rubberducky January 08, 2015 11:35 PM  

Science is facing an enormous loss of trust from the public, and deservedly so. For example, watch a Stephen Hawkings documentary and you find very little science presented. He's mostly railing against God. Or watch a nature show, and you'll be find more laments on climate change or endangered biodiversity than you'll find facts about the various animals. Everything scientific comes to us with an agenda attached. Little seems honest.

Then, look at the sad state of our institutions. Take MIT, until recently considered a very prestigious world class institution. Their professor, Johnathan Gruber, has exposed the fact that MIT promotes, endorses, and harbors a culture not of honest inquiry but of fraud. Mr. Gruber has been found repeatedly standing before his peers, all of whom are laughing with him, as he recounts his various lies, schemes and frauds with glee and astounding arrogance. It becomes clear that for these people in this academic culture that the truth does not justify their means, their own ends justify their means.

With Mr. Gruber having been caught, no outrage has come from anybody at MIT. The administrators, the faculty, the students, the alumni all carry on as if this but another day's work. Pressed for a reaction on Mr. Gruber, the economics faculty actually produced not a condemnation nor words of censure, but a preview of Mr. Gruber's latest anti-smoking publications. I suppose Mr. Gruber has mined the vein on Obamacare as far as he can, now he's looking to tap some tobacco settlement millions!

No question exists whether you can trust any of these people. Not just at MIT. Those at Harvard, many of whom were in the audience laughing with Mr. Gruber, have actually done something that the US Congress won't. Incredible to say, the progressive academic legislature of Harvard faculty actually voted to repeal Obamacare immediately upon realization that their costs were rising. Of course this vote came to late, they had already loosed the monster of their very own creation upon us all. So now they look not only craven and fraudulent, but down-right foolish and pathetic.

No question exists if you can trust them or not. That's been settled. You can't. Case closed.

Anonymous Mr. Rational January 08, 2015 11:40 PM  

p-dawg just repudiated himself.

J. Sinastar doesn't acknowledge the little detail of nuclear energy:  it is available completely on demand yet has no emissions that affect the climate (even by Greenie standards).  Furthermore, it was practically invented by Alvin Weinberg, one of TWMNBN.  It completely enables the indefinite continuation of Western industrial civilization without anything that damages the world as a whole, even in theory.

So who's refusing to adopt nuclear energy as a response?

So-called "skeptics".

Blogger Thordaddy January 09, 2015 2:28 AM  

Science = particular labeling of redundant material phenomena

Blogger Thordaddy January 09, 2015 2:30 AM  

It is logical to self-annihilate in order to liberate from objective Supremacy...

Blogger Joshua Sinistar January 09, 2015 2:37 AM  

Mr. Irrational wants us to believe its conservative God-fearing skeptics that oppose Nuclear Power! Right. Try again. If you're going to lie, you have to make it plausible.
I don't see any TEA party people holding NIMBY No Nukes Save the Whales signs outside of nuclear power plants. No one else does either.
Its those pot-smoking hippie dippie professional protestors that spend their days picketing everywhere because they have no life. Those same assclowns support Global Hysteria 110% because they HATE CIVILIZATION and have a ridiculous Disney version delusion of the woods and nature as some sort of Garden of Ede where the animals all congregate to listen to the wise old owl and are ruled by the Lion King. Of course, there is no God, just and anthropomorphic buffoon called "Mother Nature" a creation of an ad agency to sell dishwashing liquid and feminine hygiene products.
These neo-luddite shitheads don't want Oil, Gas, Coal, Electric, or Nuclear because they work, and support only solar and wind because they don't work.
WORK is the only four-letter word that Liberals and Leftists find offensive.

Blogger Jack Morrow January 09, 2015 8:13 AM  

For further reading:

Science Suppression and Misrepresentation



How Darwin and biology have been abused

Anonymous p-dawg January 09, 2015 10:45 AM  

@Mr. Rational: Nice assertion. Precisely how did I do that? That is a direct question, per the rules of the blog, either make a complete answer or retract your baseless assertion.

Blogger SirHamster January 09, 2015 2:25 PM  


Both just happened to be Jews the biggest liars in the world, and the cause of all the wars and misery on the Earth.


Wow, did not know that. The Jewish conspiracy has amazing reach.

Blogger MidKnight January 09, 2015 2:46 PM  

Aaaand... the rabbits at the Verge are at it again.


They may not have interesting tech articles anymore, but they can rabbit and SJW with the best of them.

From: http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/9/7520313/sexism-commenters-science-men-evidence-internet-stem


When researchers looked at the comment threads at the bottom of new stories reporting these findings in outlets such as The New York Times and Discover Magazine, they found that 9.5 percent of comments argued against the existence of sexism. Of that 9.5 percent, 68 percent of the denials came from men. Moreover, 22 percent of the comments justified sexism in STEM fields. Predictably, 79 to 88 percent of those justifications were made by men, and, depressingly, 59.8 percent of the total number of justifications used biological explanations.

Anonymous p-dawg January 10, 2015 10:09 AM  

@Mr. Rational: Yep, that is what I thought. All bark, no bite.

Blogger Mindstorm January 12, 2015 9:25 AM  

@Titus
"Snort. 12 down, about 500,000 more to go for "religion" to catch up with the French Revolution and its temples to Reason."

If they were to care about reason, they would build public libraries instead.

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