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Matt Ridley on when science heretics are right

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As noted by James Barham here (“Six Lessons on Scientific Heresy,” BestSchools.org November 4, 2011:

“When are scientific heretics right and when are they mad? How do you tell the difference between science and pseudoscience?”

This was the theme of the annual Angus Millar Lecture, entitled “Scientific Heresy,” delivered by noted popular-science author Matt Ridley earlier this week at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.

Finally, he refers to studies which have shown that experts such as political scientists, economists, and journalists have no better than chance success at predicting future outcomes. Again, the list might well be extended to include evolutionary biologists, climatologists, medical experts, and others.

Not that Ridley necessarily would include thm.

Lesson number 6: Never rely on the consensus of experts about the future. . . . Futurology is pseudoscience.

Past-ology is often pseudoscience too, actually. Cf pronouncements on human evolution

The really interesting study would be the one that explains how people who do succeed in prediction make their decisions.

3 Replies to “Matt Ridley on when science heretics are right

  1. 1
    Jammer says:

    “As historian Daniel Boorstin notes in ‘Cleopatra’s Nose,’ the chief lesson of the history of science is that it is not ignorance that menaces scientific advancement, but rather the illusion of knowledge.”
    ?Vox Day, The Irrational Atheist

  2. 2
    Single_Malt says:

    Jammer, at least show some taste in where you source your quotes.

    First, there is no such thing as marital rape. Once consent is formally given in public ceremony, it cannot be revoked.

    Vox Day.

  3. 3
    Eocene says:

    NEWS quote:

    “When are scientific heretics right and when are they mad? How do you tell the difference between science and pseudoscience?”
    ====

    This is an easy one. What practical application has been obtained from the research. If it’s the same old assumptions, assertions, speculations, etc or even the hijacking of intelliegent design concepts with evolutionary baggage attached to it, then it’s worthless.

    GMO applications are proof of bad science.

    —-

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