Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Why science bunkum sells, among otherwise intelligent people

We hate you too, actually. You just never noticed.

At AITSE, Caroline Crocker asks, “What is scientific integrity?”, offering,

“A current consensus about science by those deeply invested in the status quo does not necessarily equal the actual facts.” Brad Dobeck (attorney).

This insightful summary raises an important question –how do we know that a scientific statement is accurate? The claim being published in a peer reviewed journal is no guarantee, the qualifications of the author are no guarantee, the vote of the scientific community is no guarantee, even how loudly the claimant is shouting is no guarantee.

Basically, every claim must be assessed on its own merits …

One reflection UD News offers on this excellent advice is that there is a difference between the way a traditional scientist might see the role of science and the way many people today do. Take our friend Avoir du Pois …

Avoir is very generously endowed, and it’s not biceps or triceps. He used to explain, “It’s my glands,” over a plate of Krispy Kreme Burgers. But then scientists learned a lot about glands. So he switched to “It’s in my genes.” That was safe because scientists were just beginning to learn a lot about genes. It has been okay to yatter indefinitely about the gay gene, the violence gene, the shopping spree gene, the religion gene, the fat gene … yes, especially the fat gene …

What’ll he do when scientists know enough about genes to know it’s not in his genes?

Alas, we will be left with only one conclusion: Avoir eats too much, in relation to his need for energy. That’s a choice. And now it gets interesting:

Chances are, he will wail, characteristically, “But that’s not science!!

Oh? The Second Law of Thermodynamics is not science? Who knew? Look, the Second Law is not Darwinism; it’s a reliable and useful idea. It makes correct predictions all the time.

What Avoir means by “science,” it turns out, is evidence that he is not in control of his decisions. David Eagleman, the rock star of neuroscientists, would agree with that. But most people just do not. They think Avoir could avoid the Krispy Kreme burgers if his health mattered to him a tenth as much as it does to his health insurance provider.

Many people today look to science for evidence that they are not in control of their behaviour, and those people are a lifeline for bunkum, including the stuff that riffs off Darwinism.

See also: Are free will and physical determinism compatible?

Follow UD News at Twitter!


Leave a Reply