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Science looks cute in those fascist jackboots

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From guest blogger Amanda Freise at Scientific American:

It’s Time for Scientists to Stop Explaining So Much

Research shows that more facts don’t necessarily lead to changed minds, but my colleagues have a hard time accepting it

Not to leave you in suspense or anything:

This theory of science communication, the so-called “deficit model,” suggests that public skepticism of science is due to a lack of information and understanding, and can be overcome if more information is provided. But the model has been widely discredited. Simply giving someone information, no matter how much or how many experts stand behind it, just isn’t enough to convince them. So why, in the face of evidence, do some scientists continue to insist that information must be sufficient to persuade the public? More.

North Korea wouldn’t bother explaining. And look where they are today.

It doesn’t seem to occur to Freise that loss of confidence within science is part of the problem. If the editor of Nature is calling peer review unscientific, what are the rest of us supposed to salute?

But some have probably staked their careers on the hope of a new authoritarian regime where credibility doesn’t matter, only power.

See also: Bunk science: Peer review

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4 Replies to “Science looks cute in those fascist jackboots

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    News,

    there are three main levers of persuasion (as Ari long ago noted in The Rhetoric):

    1: Emotion

    2: credibility [perceived . . . ] of a source, presenter or authority

    3: fact and logic [i/l/o assumptions].

    ( –> Short-term no 1 rules, and no 2 is next. Longer term — sometimes, after pain has taught a lesson or two [it hurts to fall off a cliff, never mind the march of folly that got you there] — fact and logic prevail.)

    If science has become in material part little more than a promoter of evolutionary materialist scientism and fellow traveller politically correct causes or agendas, it is sacrificing its credibility. As for emotions, they are no better than underlying perceptions and judgements.

    Scientism is absurd on its face as the claim science is the only begetter of truth is a philosophical assertion.

    Evolutionary materialism utterly undermines responsible, rational freedom and thus self-falsifies; a point that has been admitted against interest on record enough times to burn through the usual dismissive rhetorical defences when such is pointed out.

    Of course, when one is up against those willing to burn down first principles of logic to sustain their ideology, only severe pain due to having hit the rocks at the bottom of a cliff after a march of folly will teach them better.

    The problem is, a broken backed civilisation is a big problem for us all. If you doubt, ask the ghosts of those who had to deal with the consequences of the collapse of the W Roman Empire for the better part of 1,000 years. (For a clue on the why of the collapse, read Rom 1 for a picture already c 57 AD.)

    So we had better ponder the matches we are playing with as a civilisation.

    (And, if I sound pessimistic, you betcha. Consider recent events in the UK, France, USA and Germany for reference i/l/o geostrategic context. [E.g. here.])

    KF

  2. 2
    News says:

    kairosfocus at 1, fascists usually start by claiming that the public is irrational and that they are the smart people whose opinions are truth. They cater to current prejudices so that people who never wanted to think much are easily swayed to their opinion. People who never wanted to hear both sides no longer have to.

    That worked out really well for the Axis powers in WWII.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    ‘kairosfocus at 1, fascists usually start by claiming that the public is irrational and that they are the smart people whose opinions are truth.’

    Bingo, News. The truth of intelligent design is so patently clear even to a child, or to a lost tribe in the Amazonian or New Guinea jungle, because they don’t have a disgracefully mind-killing axe to grind.

    The naivety of the author took my breath away – or would have, had I took the sanity of her article for granted.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    The ‘information deficit’ theory conveniently validates their scientism, doesn’t it.

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