reply to post by Point of No Return
I didn't know science was under attack.
I'm surprised. I think that the fact is obvious just from reading ATS. One poster is obsessed with proving Einstein wrong putting up post after post
with spurious claims, another is obsessed with Evolution in the same way. Each disparages and condemns science, the scientific method, the scientific
consensus, scientists, science educators, science establishment administrators, and science journals.
The evolution attacker is obsessed because he/she is convinced that if science is right, then the Bible is wrong and the entire foundation of his/her
world view will come crashing down. There is no room in that world view for the possibility that God created the world the way it is so that mankind
could learn about its incredible beauty. This person sees the world of science as a direct threat to their spiritual existence and sees it as their
responsibility and duty to convince the world of its error.
The Einstein attacker is obsessed because he/she is convinced that if mainstream science is right, then their personal favorite alternative Theory is
wrong and the entire foundation of his/her world view involving so much personal investment of non-scholastic study will come crashing down. There is
no room in that world view for the alternative theory to co-exist in any form with the common cosmology, it is either/or. This person sees the world
of science as a direct threat to 'true' knowledge, as a cabal of who have some sort of corrupt intent to freeze scientific advancement.
These are just two examples taken from the pages of ATS. There are thousands of examples, from relatively harmless cranks on the internet like these
two, to polititians stripping funds from research Universities and science education courses from schools, to parents withdrawing their kids from
public schools so they can limit their education, to lobby groups trying to force schools to teach religion as science, to newspaper moguls
encouraging mobs to invade town hall meetings and deny communication between polititians and constituencies, to vested interests stealing private
communication between scientists and using it to try and impeach their credibility.
The broad based attack on science is glaringly obvious to anyone who pays attention to the world around them. Whether this attack constitutes a
conspiracy or not is open to debate, that the attack is happening is not.
I don't think most people are denying science, it's just that we have no way of checking if scientists are telling the truth, you know, not
manipulating numbers or withholding information and such.
This comment is, in fact, an attack on the integrity of scientists, and thus casts doubt on the body of knowledge accumulated by them. Do you not see
the cognitive disconnect between saying you weren't aware of an attack on science in one sentence and then attack Science in the next by repeating an
example of a particularly vile attack?
You don't have to be an expert in everything to understand the basic concepts, weigh competing statements, and come to your own conclusion. For
example, when presented with the following competing statements:
- Denier: Climate Scientists ignore the sun in their models. The earth is warming up because the sun is getting warmer in its natural cycle.
- Scientist: The sun indeed has natural cycles, and the Earth's warming trend does not follow that cycle. We have included the sun influence in all
our models, indeed it doesn't make any sense to do otherwise. We have even plugged your worse case scenario into the models and found that it does
not predict the observed data.
Which one is more likely true? Consider the motivations of the protagonists. One is trying to dismiss the consequences of observed data by attacking
the messenger. The other is trying to answer questions. One is trying to prove someone else wrong, the other is trying to ensure he is right. The
deniers motivation to raise doubts is obvious, but what would be the motivation for the scientist to be wrong?
The denier loses nothing from being wrong and gains nothing from being right. The scientist loses everything from being wrong, and gains everything
from being right.
I think we have had some examples of that recently.
You are refering, I presume, to 'Climategate'. In fact the results of 'Climategate' are exactly the opposite of your 'thought'. Wikipedia has a
comprehensive summary here: Climatic Research Unit email
The only 'substantiated' charge was that some of the statistical methods used for some aspects were poorly chosen, but at the same time it is likely
that the more correct methods would have produced much the same result. This argument could have been carried out in the scientific literature without
the necessity of criminal trespass.
The fact is that all datasets and models used by the Climate scientists under attack have been available to anyone with access to the internet.
Anyone with the competence to use them could have evaluated them. That you are not personally competent to evaluate that data and duplicate their
research is not an argument against its correctness, all it means is that you haven't trained in the relevant field.
True, there was a small amount of data that was restricted to 'approved' researchers, not by the Scientists that were the custodians of that data,
but by the national Governments that collected the data. Those Governments, mainly the USA and Russia, imposed commercial restrictions on their data
to prevent the free distribution of that data. Again this is not an argument against the correctness of the research, only of the short mindedness of
Government agencies involved.
Not to say that scientists are bad or evil, but whoever funds them has a lot of influence.
Only on what is researched, not on the results of that research. And that control is stronger when the scientist is employed by a company with
specific biases in the desired results. Thus tobacco companies employ scientists to research the cheapest way to ensure their products will addict
people, not to figure out it their product is going to kill them.
Btw, I think you could lose three quarters of your post.
Point taken. I'll concede that at least one quarter of it is wasted words. Is this one any better?
[edit on 20/7/2010 by rnaa]