Is science being hijacked?
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03-12-2012, 01:13 AM
RE: Is science being hijacked?
In the really old days, science was "Me touch wood with fire, now wood on fire." Everyone could see exactly what was going on and figure it out very quickly and accurately - it made perfect sense and, even if you didn't think of it, when someone demonstrated it you could get right on board. Figuring out planting seasons or how to bank a fire or that water runs downhill was, well, primitively easy.

In the old days, science was "I touch fire to gunpowder, now it explodes." Everyone could see mostly what was going on and figure it out moderately quickly and somewhat accurately. Still made almost perfect sense. Recognizing that blowing air into fire makes the fire hotter, or triangulating known stars can give accurate navigation without sight of land, or looking through a tube with two lenses makes things appear bigger and closer was, well, relatively easy.

Today, science happens in laboratories under conditions that most of us don't even have a clue how to understand. It can be demonstrated over and over and eventually most of us just say "Well, the scientists know how to do it and that's good enough for me." I don't claim to understand the Higgs boson, or string theory, or just about anything in microbiology or nuclear physics or... Well, you get the picture. I just have to take the scientist's word for it. I don't have the time of the scientific foundation to figure any of this out so I take it for granted.

Sure, I can read the scientific journals if I want to. I'm a smart guy. I can work some of this stuff out and research what I need to work more of it out. But I'm never going to devote 8-12 years of collegiate life to a science just so I can really, truly, understand what Lawrence Krauss is talking about. And another 8-12 years to each other science so I can figure them all out.

Not gonna happen.

So I just read the headlines and smile and nod and hope (take for granted) that they know what they're doing.

Which makes me rather gullible. So be it. I don't have the time or inclination to be less gullible - I am too busy keeping up with the engineering journals in my own tech field to also try to stay on top of all the sciences.

Long story short, we ALL have to do this. We all have to take it for granted. Which means that anyone can say just about anything, and if they seem credible, the only thing we can do is take it for granted. Or maybe do a little due diligence to see if his ideas and published works are well-received by his scientific peers - but even that often takes time and energy to research; resources I'm usually not willing to invest.

And neither is anyone else, mostly, which is why we're all gullible in this regard. Some of us are much less willing to take everything on faith that some guy in a lab coat tells us, others are much more willing - but we're all willing to take some of it on faith. We have to. Nobody knows it all. Everybody has to take some of the scientific stuff on faith.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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03-12-2012, 08:43 AM
RE: Is science being hijacked?
(03-12-2012 01:13 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  And neither is anyone else, mostly, which is why we're all gullible in this regard. Some of us are much less willing to take everything on faith that some guy in a lab coat tells us, others are much more willing - but we're all willing to take some of it on faith. We have to. Nobody knows it all. Everybody has to take some of the scientific stuff on faith.
That is very true. But, you know that science is not static or dogmatic. So, whenever your vote counts for a scientific matter, you'll vote based on reason. That for me is the most important thing as a citizen.

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03-12-2012, 01:39 PM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2012 02:58 PM by Janus.)
RE: Is science being hijacked?
(01-12-2012 08:36 PM)Logica Humano Wrote:  So guys, I was watching National Geographic and... I realized... it has been dominated by monster hunters. Shocking


Yep. That's part of the Newspeak sneaking up on us on all sides. Just like MTV isn't the 24/7 musical video clips broadcaster either anymore but still sails under the same moniker. Nor is Animal Planet about educating its audiences about the wonders and diversity of fauna anymore, but rather an endless stream of sensationalist horror stories in series like Shark Week and Shock Attack and Scary Predators, while the History Channel IRL ignores 99% of history: it rarely touches on anything pre-20th century, etc. etc.

Newspeak is all around us. And it starts at the top. I mean just consider: in the White House they plan and oversee black ops... Consider
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