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Thread: Is modern Science Losing it?

  1. #1 Is modern Science Losing it? 
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    THe following is a link to an aricle which at first looks like humour, but it is not, it is a very serious evaluation of the way scientific truth is more and more directed dictated by policy/pressure/govt etc. I found it sobering and a damn good read, any comments?

    http://www.crichton-official.com/spe...s_quote04.html


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Hi Mega,
    I read it. And I have comments. But I better be careful about what I say....

    I'll elaborate later. I liked the article.

    Cheers


    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  4. #3 Re: Is modern Science Losing it? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    THe following is a link to an aricle which at first looks like humour, but it is not, it is a very serious evaluation of the way scientific truth is more and more directed dictated by policy/pressure/govt etc. I found it sobering and a damn good read, any comments?

    http://www.crichton-official.com/spe...s_quote04.html
    Thanks for the link. Some excellent points. One line stands out:

    "When did "skeptic" become a dirty word in science? When did a skeptic require quotation marks around it? " Well said.

    My only quibble with the article is that the author assumes that most science is in the popular domaine. It's not. 99% of science has no public agenda, focus or controversy. In my field 99.5% of paleontology papers go unnoticed by the media or anyone outside of a particular discipline. Only when there is some sensational connection to 'dinosaurs' or human evolution does an article break into popular culture (and even among those a small %). I'm sure it's the same in most science disciplines that study unpronouncable phenomena in equally obscure regimens. Science is alive and well in most disciplines.
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  5. #4  
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    Yeah - good point But if global warming turns out to be NOT the fault of man (for which evidence is mounting) - who do you think will get the blame? unlike other examples [cited in the article] GW is something all are aware of and many paying higher taxes... who knows?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    I read the article. Its okay i suppose, not as good as Jurassic Park though !! (Even IF none of the dinosaurs featured ACTUALLY came from the Jurassic period ! (With the exception of Sam Neil, of course! )
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    I remember reading this article back in 03'. I've always been a fan of Crichton though I don't worship him as some do.

    With this article I feel that the single most crucial point that is made is when he refers to consensus as "NOT" being a product of science. If anything, it could very well be the opposite.

    When it comes to Global Warming I sometimes wake up feeling as if I havn't woken up at all. Like I'm still in some dream world, or worse yet, the Twilight Zone. As if canabilism has become common place and everyone is going to work and living their lives in the usual routine but at the same time they're also eating human flesh as if its no big deal and I'm the only guy left who's like "Hey man, thats somebodies finger you've got in your mouth!?" - OR - It's like I'm surrounded by the Eloi. You know, those people H.G. Wells wrote about in the Time Machine. Vacious empty headed loafers who just except whatever false logic that is given to them.

    This idea that science does not rely on consensus as a form of validation....its not just some...idea. Its not just another wild radical theory that floats around on the outskerts of social awareness. Testable results are the fundemental key of the entire sceintific process. Again, for the cheap seats - TESTABLE RESULTS ARE THE FUNDEMENTAL KEY OF THE ENTIRE SCIENTIFIC PROCESS. I've made this argument before, even here, within this forum. Do you accept gravity as a fact? Of course you do. But why? Because everyone else says its a fact? Because when you open a text book and it tells you it's a fact? Because when you turn on the TV and some "important" looking anchorman with one cocked eyebrow says, in that Oh-so-offical tone of voice, that -Yes- gravity is a fact? Or how about when some political figure wins a hob-snob academy award for making some documentary about the 'Crisis of Gravity'. Is that why you accept gravity as fact? I mean after all, if Hollywood says its the real deal...then you better believe its the real deal. Right?

    A whole bunch of people agree that something is real, so that makes it real. Yeah, that sounds like a winner. (Sarcasm)

    We live in a world where much of our reality is determined by everything accept the actual process of interacting with that reality. And you know what?...thats bullsh*t!

    I'll tell you why I accept gravity as a fact. Experimentation fallowed by tangible, or at least, repetitive results that can be both observed, recorded and retested by any-one individual on the planet. Countless individuals have observed the increase of the earths temperature. Yes, this observations have been validated. Yet not one individual - NOT ONE INDIVIDUAL has presented not one testable result - NOT ONE TESTABLE RESULT as to the cause of this increase. Global Warming is a theory and until it can be proven otherwise, "Theory" is where global warming belongs.
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    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    What most surprised me was Crichton's contempt for "the consensus." Myself, I would say that, in general, the scientific concensus is the best understanding of a subject we have until somone comes up with a more accurate understanding and convinces the rest.

    I think what he was really trying to say was the it someimes takes longer than it should for the concensus to shift because subjects now get into the public glare and those involved are led into peretrating poor science in order to tie in their own career and institution to the publiicity.

    Myself, I think pure science has been in decline for decades and that applied science will follow. This and the problems Crichton refers to can well be tied in with the general decline in honesty and integrity in society and also to the return to old religious doctrines by a large segment of the population in response to that general moral decline.

    charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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  9. #8  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Koly I have considerable respect for your enthusiasm, knowledge and articulate posting. I was therfore astounded and dismayed to read this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolt
    Global Warming is a theory and until it can be proven otherwise, "Theory" is where global warming belongs.
    I respond by quoting to you from a post I have just made on another forum in response to remarks by a creationist.
    I am leaning towards the view that individuals who make the 'its only a theory' statement should be painlessly put down. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant of how science works and what exactly a theory is. But when that ignorance is worn as a badge of honour and used as a cornerstone of arguments, the individual responsible (or rather irresponsible) has shown themselves to be a dangerous member of society. However, since I am something of a pacifist at heart I shall just go away and vomit quitely in a corner.
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  10. #9  
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    There is almost universal agreement that, at this time, year on year the earth is, on average, warming. (data over the last 100 years show that to be of the order of 0.7 C). The question is whether that rise is exponential and directly due to man's activities.

    I think Kolt may just mean MMGW (Man-Made-Global Warming) -


    The thread is about whether we are being told the truth,
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  11. #10  
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    I don't necessarily have anything against the 'Verdict of Consensus' as a stand-alone process. In terms of law or politics, it is a prime method of validation. Science however is a different matter. Lets say that one scientist performs a testable result to an audience of many scientist. If the consensus of that audience were as stated "Yes. The results we have just witnessed appear to be viable" , Then I would surely take that consensus into account but I would never, with any digree of rational thought, refer to that consensus by itself as a form of scientific confirmation. A consensus will always remain secondary as to evidence-applied. Testable results always come first.

    Look at it this way - What is a consensus without a testable result? It is merely a sum of people agreeing on something that cannot be duplicated. In other words.......it's nothing.

    There is a consensus that says global warming is real and that our planet is in crisis. This consensus is based on the observation of our planets increase in temperature fallowed by a series of predictions, scaled models and scenario runs. The heating of our planet is real because the methods applied in observing this heating can be re-applied over and over again by any-one individual. Assuming that individual possesses the technological means. Yet from there, reality becomes thesis because, as with all models and predictions, the process of experimentation leads only to one possible-interpretive result out of many.

    I'm not here to write off global warming as complete nonsense. That would be irresposible. No, it is a theory and one that should have our fullest attention. Furthermore, if there is such a decline in sceince I don't know if I would go so far as to associate it with an overall lack of honesty or integrity, at least not in general. I think it might have more to do with the sickly deffects of our social graces. A persons opinion can be highly influenced by what they see on television or by what they read in magazine articles and on the internet. And even more so by the opinions of their peers. It is very common now days for a person to think or believe something a certain way not because it is rational but instead because it is fashionable.
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  12. #11  
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    I'd very much like to know what Ophiolite's opinion is in regard to whether the article it refers to has merit.

    No doubt the vast majority of scientists work away from 'cinderella science' quietly in the background amassing data to increase man's knowledge. If (in the case of GW) it proves not to be the case that man is responsible, will this 'dent' the integrity of science as a whole or, as was the case 20 years ago (predictions of an impending ice-age) will it be forgotten by a public who for the most part appear scientifically illiterate?
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  13. #12  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    I'd very much like to know what Ophiolite's opinion is in regard to whether the article it refers to has merit.
    I am not sure which article you are referring to. I shall assume it is the speech by Michael Crichton. I have not read all of it, but I was attracted to the portion on the Drake equation (largely because I am dabbling with a book on the history, validity and current estimates of the equation.)
    Crichton makes two points which reveal a thorough misunderstanding of the subject and therefore call into question his grasp of scientific principal and methodology.
    First he says this:
    As a result, the Drake equation can have any value from "billions and billions" to zero. An expression that can mean anything means nothing. Speaking precisely, the Drake equation is literally meaningless, and has nothing to do with science.
    This is a display of simple ignorance. The Drake equation was set up by Drake to provide a framework for discussion of the possibility of extraterrestrial life, not as a means of calculating it probability. It is true that one can insert the current best estimates of its component functions and arrive at a provisional and approximate figure for the number of intelligent civilisations in the galaxy, but that was not its purpose.
    Therefore, as a framework to guide the workshop, an agenda for a scientific meeting, it was definitively science.

    Secondly Crichton observes:
    The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science.
    Well, there are two errors here. Firstly SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is wholly independent of the Drake equation. Its premise is 'lets see if we can make some observations of the electromagnetic spectrum that might indicate the presence of other intelligences'.
    Observation is the starting point of science. Most sciences in their early stages are descriptive, rather than predictive. Crichton seems unaware of this.
    Secondly, the Drake equation can be tested. It is true that it cannot be tested in totallity today, but each function within it would ultimately be testable. Crichton's absolute dismissal, again indicates a misunderstanding of the nature of science.
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