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Mother Jones defends establishment science

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Read all the online stuff you want, Collins argues—or even read the professional scientific literature from the perspective of an outsider or amateur. You’ll absorb a lot of information, but you’ll still never have what he terms “interactional expertise,” which is the sort of expertise developed by getting to know a community of scientists intimately, and getting a feeling for what they think.

“If you get your information only from the journals, you can’t tell whether a paper is being taken seriously by the scientific community or not,” says Collins. “You cannot get a good picture of what is going on in science from the literature,” he continues. And of course, biased and ideological internet commentaries on that literature are more dangerous still.

And why we all need civil servants running our lives and policing the Internet, right?

Figures this’d be Chris Mooney.

Some countries are still open for business. Some people still think that thinking matters.

5 Replies to “Mother Jones defends establishment science

  1. 1
    Barb says:

    So, reading isn’t enough; we now need to have regular coffee klatches with the scientists to know what they’re thinking?

  2. 2
    johnnyb says:

    Barb –

    Don’t get your hopes up. That isn’t what he meant, either. What he really meant is that you have to agree with him. Otherwise you don’t “really know”.

    It’s funny and sad, because one of the *goals* of science was to provide *public* evidence that could be examined and scrutinized by anyone. That, quite specifically, was what was supposed to separate science from dogma. Dogma is debated within churches (contrary to some people’s presumptions), but is decided *only* by the people in the upper ranks of the church.

    The goal of science is to provide a way to have understandings of the world that didn’t require a magisterium – so that everyone can look at the data for themselves.

    So, quite literally, Chris Mooney wants to end science and replace it with a magisterium.

  3. 3
    Barb says:

    johnnyb:

    What he really meant is that you have to agree with him. Otherwise you don’t “really know”.

    So the “interactional expertise” comes from being a scientist and from toeing the party line. Ironic, isn’t it, that the scientists who are atheists agree with this notion yet simultaneously decry religious “dogma”.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    The scientific community cannot stand public scrutiny. They go out of their way to make the lay public feel stupid and impotent. Only they have the right to create knowledge and tell you what to believe in. If you complain, you are branded an anti-science crackpot. The pompous elitism of the scientific community is obnoxious and revolting. It’s worse than organized religion.

    As Feyerabend wrote, “The most stupid procedures and the most laughable results in their domain are surrounded with an aura of excellence. It’s time to cut them down to size and give them a lower position in society.”

  5. 5
    OldArmy94 says:

    This is all part of the greater trend to discard pragmatism for the sake of idealism. It does not matter if the evidence leads to different conclusions regarding evolution per the Darwinian paradigm; what matters is that the ideal must be preserved. Anthropogenic climate change is another one of these sacred cows. And, to push the envelope even further, I daresay that the entire issue of homosexual marriage fits within this schema.

    The irony is palpable. It amazes and amuses me, at times, that so many claim to be skeptical and devotees to “hardcore” science, yet this is rapidly becoming the Age of Irrationality.

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