Logic and First Principles of right reason Peer review Science

Why we daren’t just “trust” scientists

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  From Creation-Evolution Headlines:

The problem is that many scientific opinions these days refer to predictions that are not verifiable and repeatable. What will the climate be in 100 years? Nobody has been there yet. What will happen to a star that enters a black hole? It’s impossible to experience such a thing. So if “scientists” are the default watchers of truth, who watches the watchers?

Some will respond that scientists make mistakes, too, but have the best methods for self-correction. But how can anyone know when they are fully correct? Erroneous advice by scientific experts can be propagated for decades. We’ve all been told to drink lots of water each day, but Medical Xpress now says there’s little evidence to back it up. The experts all concurred that saturated fat is bad, bad, bad, but now another article on Medical Xpress says, “Saturated fat could be good for you.” A study in Norway “raises questions regarding the validity of a diet hypothesis that has dominated for more than half a century: that dietary fat and particularly saturated fat is unhealthy for most people.” This is not to say the new study has the final word, but only to illustrate that it’s not always easy to tell the true authority from the false authority, like Ellerton wants. You can’t just go by majority vote. Hardly a month goes by without some long-taught scientific “truth” unraveling with further research. Just this month, Nature pointed out that “carbon is not the enemy,” taking issue with the 2015 Paris climate accords. More.

Couple thoughts: What we need to trust is evidence, not “science,” and the history shows that peer review has not worked out as a reliable way of gaining evidence.

Plus, we need to trust logic and experience to evaluate the evidence.

As for people who need to “believe in” science, with any luck, their reward will be closer to what comes of believing in astrology and what comes of believing in charismatic leaders.

The big worry, in my (O’Leary for News’) view, is the growing tendency for pop science enforcers to claim that we did not evolve so as to understand reality. The enforcer making the claim, of course, gets a pass because he doesn’t even pretend to believe in reality in any serious sense. He knows he has power over others and he likes that.

See also: Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature

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One Reply to “Why we daren’t just “trust” scientists

  1. 1
    BrianFraser says:

    If you want reasons for not blindly trusting scientists or Acedemia, read Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (Halton Arp, 1998)

    This is a book by Dr. Halton Arp, a maverick professional astronomer who has for decades been pointing out glaring inconsistencies and problems with the current theories of institutional astronomy and astrophysics. Arp received his bachelors degree from Harvard College in 1949 and his Ph. D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1953, both cum laude. He states one of the major aims of this book: “. . . one must fundamentally change the structure of academic science. Communication must be directly to fellow researchers and the public with no possibility of censorship. This is the major aim of this book.” (p. 245)

    And true to his purpose, the book is full data from astronomy that will turn the current paradigms upside down. It also has a lot of quotables about Academia. Here are just a very few samples:

    “The reason we have not had any useful progress is that astronomers don’t even look at their own observations.” (p. 282; see also 135, 239, 246)

    “I gloomily came to the ironic conclusion that if you take a highly intelligent person and give them the best possible, elite education, then you will most likely wind up with an academic who is completely impervious to reality.” (p. 131)

    “Refereeing, or “peer review” as it is rather pompously called, is now unworkable. It has increasingly shown that it lets in the bad papers and excludes the good ones, exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to do. . . . Many reports read like an emotional session of psychotherapy—manipulative, sly, insulting, arrogant and above all angry. A sample of these should be published because it would allow people to evaluate the objectivity of the information they are being allowed to read. Their best use would be to enliven the ends of controversial articles with short replies from the authors.” (p. 270, 271; see also 47, 83, 19, 101, 244)

    “One lesson from all of this, which seems obvious, is that scientists have to be absolutely honest and straightforward with the public, the people who are paying their salary. Their primary moral obligation is to report the facts and make available a range of interpretations. They have no paternalistic excuse to guard the public from “misunderstandings” or “alarm.” If they cannot explain a matter so that a non-specialist can understand it, they don’t understand it themselves and they should not cover up this important situation.” (p. 266)

    The rest of the list is at: http://scripturalphysics.org/4.....l#Addendum

    Or read through “Beyond Einstein: non-local physics: (Fraser, 2015). Ask yourself if Academia would even be allowed to review a paper like this. (Shame on you for even LOOKING at it!) The link is http://scripturalphysics.org/4.....stein.html The .html file gives a link to the .pdf file but the former has additional information, and many more links and insights.

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