Are people too quick to accept "science"?

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by klnOmega, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. klnOmega

    klnOmega Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    I don't have any data to back this up, but it seems there is a growing trend of pseudo-intellectuals simply parroting whatever they perceive to be the scientific consensus, and thinking themselves critical thinkers because of it.

    If we talk about evolution for example. Of course, most of us believe in evolution. But how many of us have ever read primary scientific resource about it? We can talk about DNA evidence, or the fossil record, or selective breeding, etc, but how do you know how reliable this evidence really is? Who can say what DNA sequences overlap to what degree? How were they sequenced? Etc... Note, I'm not saying that their science is wrong, I'm saying that we readily accept that the are right without ever actually looking at their research. We accept the results and summary without any critical evaluation, and then consider ourselves critical thinkers for believing it.

    My favorite example is Big Bang cosmology. Here and on other forums, there are people who vehemently defend the idea that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and has been expanding at an accelerating rate from a singularity that whole time. If you dare to disagree, these people will call you an unscientific idiot who is unable to think critically. Yet why do these people believe in the Big Bang? Because they were told to by a teacher, or book, or Richard Dawkins. They have only the most vague idea of the actual evidence. They will of course mention the cosmic background radiation, and the red shift, without knowing that the Big Bang is not unique in making these predictions. There a plethora of other theories which equally explain these observations, yet do not require an expansion from a singularity, and which disagree about the age of the universe. They will mention that relative abundance of isotopes in stars evidence, without even knowing what the lithium problem is (spolier: The Big Bang in the standard model actually predicts the wrong abundance of some isotopes in stars).


    Now people will point to technology as evidence that we ought to believe scientists, but this is fallacious. Firstly, it is completely possible to be right for the wrong reasons. A classic example is the Bohr model of the atom. Bohr was able to correctly describe several aspects of the Hydrogen atom, without using any Quantum mechanics. He was right in his predictions, but his underlying reasoning was completely wrong. Similarly, theories on many other things we have today are "good enough" for current technology, but as new information comes to light, they can be completely subplanted the radically different theories. While we can make superconducting microchips, our theory as to why superconductivity occurs may be completely wrong, or incomplete.

    A lot of people say that as society is becoming more secular, as evolution acceptance is increasing, etc... we are becoming better critical thinkers. But I don't see that at all. I still see most people as gullible idiots who believe whatever they are told...we've just traded the guy with the bible for the guy with a lab coat (and not even him directly. Usually from sources far detached from him).
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  2. klnOmega

    klnOmega Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    That is nowhere near confirmed.
     
  3. drstrangelov

    drstrangelov Hey.

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    People are quick to believe conceptually in things presented to them by respectable enough sources. They are more hesitant to actually embrace scientific discoveries where they would be directly impacted by them.

    So, believing in some grand unified theory might be a substitute for religion for some people. Probably not for physicists who need to actually engage the idea on equal footing, but some armchair intellectuals certainly.
     
  4. WrestlinganJudo

    WrestlinganJudo Banned Banned

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    I am not a scientist but I have directly work with quite a few. I have seen what these particular scientiest have to say on the things they were working on and I have seen the press misquote them.

    Things like "We are developing some theorys to pursue this" becomes "we have a theory to solve this."

    "We don't have the answer yet but this looks promising." Became "local scientists say they have a solution. "

    I kind of think the press wants a good story even if there isn't one yet and the general public often want to hear what they want to hear and cherry pick.
     
  5. LiLoMMA

    LiLoMMA Lindsay Lohan's party belt

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    I prefer the guy with the lab coat's style better. I would say that until you research something and come up with logical reasons not to listen, listening to a lab coat guy is a great start into understanding whatever it is he studies
     
  6. bad seed

    bad seed Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    good troll. 8/10
     
  7. IDL

    IDL Gold Belt

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    I notice a lot of religious type appeals to 'science' to deter being critical of things.

    People should be critical of authority even if it is 'science' because not all science is equal and it can be political and full of corrupting influences.

    Apparently Richard Horton from the Lancet Medical Journal had this to say about this phenomenon

    http://www.collective-evolution.com...-journal-half-of-all-the-literature-is-false/

    His article is here:
    http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(15)60696-1.pdf
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  8. drstrangelov

    drstrangelov Hey.

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    Or he could be a snake oil salesman. Although Google has made credential verification much easier, once a guy establishes authority, earned or not, it's hard to dissuade people from believing in it.
     
  9. To an extent yes but politically correct science overtakes real science. For example the political correct Marxist attacks against James Watson ( a man who led us to were we are in genetics) is an example. Another example is the attacks against the book "A Troublesome Inheritance" by Nicholas Wade, his book has NOT been refuted by any facts. However, he was attacked as 'racist' and asked his attackers to prove him wrong and so far nobody has.

    He also used the 'science' of those who attacked him and still the media needs only to scream 'racist' and people go into Pavlovian conditioning mode. But hey that is what +40 years of propaganda does to you. It makes you throw out logic and efficiency in favor of emotional responses!
     
  10. klnOmega

    klnOmega Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    We aren't really understanding what he studies. We are parroting the conclusions.

    All CNN has to do is run a story titled "Scientists make more accurate measure of Black Hole, affirm Hawking's predictions", and then you will have a whole bunch of people arguing online that Hawking solved the Black Hole entropy problem. Did they read the paper the scientist actually wrote? No. Do they know how the measurements were taken? No. Do they know if other theories explain the data equally well? No. Do they know if the theory has made failed predictions? No.

    All they know is that someone said they did something that agreed with a Hawking prediction, therefor Hawking must be right. Its dictated to them, and they accept it as fact, uncritically.
     
  11. ripskater

    ripskater Guest

    True scientific discovery can be a good thing. The problem is when lies get mixed in with facts.
     
  12. klnOmega

    klnOmega Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/should-research-on-race-and-iq-be-banned/

    A Scientific American writer argued that scientific research on race and IQ should be banned.

     
  13. drstrangelov

    drstrangelov Hey.

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    Sure, but only for stories that have no real implications for them.

    There was a study published recently about the uncertain benefit of lumpectomy/mastectomy in patients with DCIS. No one with that diagnosis is going to let a cnn article dictate the terms of her treatment.
     
  14. Voodoo_Child906

    Voodoo_Child906 Black Belt

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    People who say that a scientific theory is fact are incorrect, truth and facts have no place in science; What science relies upon is evidence. Theories like the big bang and evolution are the best explanation for the current data, according to the experts. When new data is presented the theories can change or be out and out replaced by a new paradigm.

    Where people get frustrated is when laymen who have never even looked at the data proclaim it wrong. Why on earth should we listen to them over the thousands of scientists who have spent decades each in the classroom, lab or field actually working with the data!
     
  15. klnOmega

    klnOmega Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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  16. Sycho Sid

    Sycho Sid Master of the world and the universe

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    Judging by things like the evolution thread, I would say the exact opposite is true. At least here.
     
  17. ripskater

    ripskater Guest

    I don't like those kind of studies either. Because if there are differences, then you always get some people of one race thinking they are superior to other races. I do think in general there are differences in gifts and talents between races.
     
  18. ThinkGreen

    ThinkGreen Der √úbermensch

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    Well I think it has to come down to trusting the findings of people who spend their lives researching a certain subject. I am never going to have the math/physics skills to prove or disprove the big bang, so all I can do is educate myself as best as possible and rely on the experts for their conclusion. I don't think that's wrong.
     
  19. TheComebackKid

    TheComebackKid Titanium Belt

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    Excellent op
     
  20. LogicalInsanity

    LogicalInsanity Co-Founder of SDLS (Sexual Deviant Leftist Scum)

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    and this is the beauty of science, it can correct itself, and it often has.

    When an academic releases/publishes his studies/work/observations you can be sure there are countless other academics and scientists going over this work with a fine toothed comb and perusing the hell out of it.

    If it holds up to scrutiny, great...if it doesn't it'll get exposed.
     
  21. klnOmega

    klnOmega Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    I believe science should indifferent toward the outcome. It should only follow toward the truth.


    Should scientist have studied insides of the atom? I believe so. The fact that the world used that knowledge to make nuclear weapons is irrelevant.
     
  22. klnOmega

    klnOmega Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    I'm not arguing against the institution of science.

    I'm arguing against the average Joe's perception of science as it relates to his critical thinking ability. I think that average person accepting an idea uncritically, but believing himself smarter, or more moral, or superior in some way than others who didn't accept the idea carries with it all the same dangers of people who believe themselves superior because of their religion.


    I'm not worried about the actual scientists. Eventually, the Big Bang or whatever will be replaced and science will move forward. Its a non-issue.
     

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