Hossenfelder: “And some crazy ideas in the end turn out to be correct.” Yes, and it could be worse than that. Given the complexity of life, there should be no surprise if dimwits played by fanatics and grifters – Establishment or otherwise – are fronting poorly supported ideas and trying to stamp out more correct ideas as “pseudoscience” because the poorly supported ideas are convenient, comforting, and profitable. Anyone who doubts that factor either hasn’t been around long or has not been paying attention.
Prediction: As the smarter portion of the population begins to piece together what’s happened in the past few years, “Science!” is going to take a beating in public reputation. That’s too bad. But, under the circumstances, the harm done by continued uncritical belief may be greater than the harm done by disillusionment. Agree or disagree, we will likely find out.
Egnor: The Divine Hiddenness argument is nonsensical because divine hiddenness is inherent in the nature of the Creator and the creature, as noted above. Furthermore, the atheist Divine Hiddenness argument seems to imply a bizarre inference: if the disbelief of even one person in the world disproves the existence of God, then it stands to reason that the belief in God by that person — that one holdout — would prove His existence.
If you “trust” these science honchoes at all after this episode… well, COVID-19 is not as serious a threat as wilful stupidity. But going forward, another question looms: How much of “settled science” that has never been subjected to this type of careful outside scrutiny would likewise collapse? What ELSE don’t we know and what difference would it make in various science arenas?
Prediction: The Woke will triumph over science because the Woke care more for winning than people in science do for facts or truth.
Egnor: Note that science studies natural effects and does not and cannot specify whether the causes must be natural or supernatural. To constrain science to the search for natural causes is to introduce inherent error into scientific investigation — the error is that if supernatural causes exist, then science would be blind to them and therefore would not be good science. If we are to understand natural effects, we must be open to all kinds of causes, including causes that transcend nature.
That’s neurosurgeon Michael Egnor’s accusation in this third part of the debate, which features continued discussion of singularities, where conventional “laws of nature” break down.
Michael Egnor: What I want to establish before that is that your arguments are not based on any actual knowledge. You don’t know the arguments for God’s existence. So your claim that they’re not true…
Easier said than done. Sadly, when we are told primly to “trust the science,” it is nearly always the case that the persons demanding the trust means by “the science” whatever science happens to support their position. One thing the COVID pandemic did was make a far greater proportion of the public aware of that meaning of “trust the science” than was the case in the past. For better or worse.
Sarah Perry: In my experience, it is the norm, rather than the exception, for cited claims in popular science books and review papers to misstate the claims of their sources.
In a lively debate at Theology Unleashed, Christian surgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty clash over “Does God exist?” Egnor starts off is opening arguments.
Wait. If atheist neurologist blogger Steven Novella is right, the science presenters in media must be speaking a different language from the rest of us. The impression that he says they don’t convey (“insight into the ultimate nature of reality”), they in fact do — by a variety of means. That’s okay, of course, until the whipped cream hits the fan.
We wish Jacques van Helden and his co-authors good luck getting an honest discussion going. It’s not like China is going to become transparent anytime soon. In any event, few virus researchers would want to be told bluntly that, because gain-of-function research in viruses can go badly wrong, they now face controls. Some nations wouldn’t heed the controls. And nature never responds – on her own – to calls for clarification. Most likely, whatever happened with COVID will need to happen again a few more times until a pattern develops. Then we’ll see. It doesn’t help that Lancet itself became politicized in recent years.
Another well-known science writer, Ross Pomeroy, says Gary Taubes is wrong. It is a good thing we get to hear both sides of the argument. That is not happening often enough. People who complain about popular doubt or denial of science are too often among the first to demand that only their side of the argument be published — thus fueling the very thing they complain about.
Discussing the recent essay by medical statistician John Ioannidis on the was politicization and shoddy research around COVID-19 are corrupting science, philosopher Edward Feser focuses on a couple of his points, including this one, “the deleterious role that social media have played.”