Skeptics of science Watch

j.alexanderh
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#21
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#21
(Original post by WackyJun)
What?
I got the impression you were arguing against paranormal research because it is not useful, like finding a cure for cancer is. Sorry if I completely misinterpreted your post.
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Hanvyj
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#22
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#22
(Original post by garethDT)
I'm sceptical of scientists because they seem more concerned with disproving spirituality than in proving science.
errrr what? What kind of scientists have you met! I've met a few, and not one of them has ever mentioned anything about disproving spirituality... As for "proving science" thats a bit of a wierd statement anyway...

(Original post by garethDT)
It's about time scientists started trying to understand the nature of the paranormal (ghosts, poltergeists, past-life experiences, OBEs etc.) rather than trying to pretend it doesn't exist.
I think most scientists probably (note, probably) don't belive in ghosts because they have never witnessed anything like these paranormal things, nor seen any reasonable independent evidence of their existance or any kind of evidence implying their existance. Its not "pretending" its simpley belief. If you are not religious do you "pretend" god doesnt exist? No, you belive he doesnt.

If you want to prove their existance, whats stopping you? Why ask these scientists to do it? "Scientists" are only people, like you, that have a theory and come up with a reliable way of testing said theory and publish that data (though i guess scientists be scientists without doing that lol)

Edit: As for global warming. Its pretty established its happening. Its also pretty established there is a corellation between warming and CO2 emmisions. (Hell, the greenhouse effect is perfectly natural observable phenomena on other planets too, take a look at venus - dont want to end up like that). Taking that correlation doesn't imply causation. I still think its a pretty big risk (the whole planet) on an assumption that doesn't have alot of evidence behind it. Yes, humans might not be contributing to global warming, theories have been wrong in the past, but do you want to risk it? i dont.
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Hanvyj
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#23
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#23
(Original post by FamousFourTops)
Surely whether it's man made or natural is besides the point. Whether you believe it's man made or natural, it's still a massive problem facing humanity.
I know some people who seem to think that just because 'it's a natural process', it somehow isn't going to affect us. Yes, global temperature change occurs naturally, but it has drastic impact on species, pushing some to extinction. Shouldn't we accept that it IS happening, for whatever reason, and try to do something about it to ensure the protection of our and other species?
devils advocate here (as I think it is manmade), but the world seems set on preventative measures rather than (that other word where you solve the problem after it has happened) measures.

If it is not man made, then spending a thousand billion pounds on something like (stupid idea, but to get a point across) sending a big sun-shade into space is a good idea. However, spending a thousand billion pounds on reducing carbon emmisions and green energy is a bad idea, because its going to happen anyway!

So its not beside the point! Its a subtler but still important point!
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j.alexanderh
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#24
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#24
(Original post by Hanvyj)
devils advocate here (as I think it is manmade), but the world seems set on preventative measures rather than (that other word where you solve the problem after it has happened) measures.

If it is not man made, then spending a thousand billion pounds on something like (stupid idea, but to get a point across) sending a big sun-shade into space is a good idea. However, spending a thousand billion pounds on reducing carbon emmisions and green energy is a bad idea, because its going to happen anyway!

So its not beside the point! Its a subtler but still important point!
In the scientific community, anthropogenic global warming is considered as good as factual. There is not really any substantive debate over this issue anymore.
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FamousFourTops
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#25
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#25
(Original post by Hanvyj)
devils advocate here (as I think it is manmade), but the world seems set on preventative measures rather than (that other word where you solve the problem after it has happened) measures.

If it is not man made, then spending a thousand billion pounds on something like (stupid idea, but to get a point across) sending a big sun-shade into space is a good idea. However, spending a thousand billion pounds on reducing carbon emmisions and green energy is a bad idea, because its going to happen anyway!

So its not beside the point! Its a subtler but still important point!
Haha yeah I completely agree with you because I think it's man made as well. I guess I was just trying to make the point that people who say 'well global temperature fluctuation has always happened so there's no problem' miss the point that it is still going to be a problem for humanity. Of course, I personally think cutting c02 emissions is the way forward (at least for now) but for those who deny global warmings importance, at least convincing them there's still and issue should be a priority
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RobJ93
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#26
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#26
As Tim Minchin said 'Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.... Faith is the denial of observation so that beliefs can be preserved'.
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Aku-gila
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#27
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#27
(Original post by RobJ93)
As Tim Minchin said 'Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.... Faith is the denial of observation so that beliefs can be preserved'.
Is this in response to something or...?
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RobJ93
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Aku-gila)
Is this in response to something or...?
Not particularly, just though it was fitting as scientific theories evolve based on observations.
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Oswy
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#29
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#29
(Original post by j.alexanderh)
Partly inspired by the poll on the recent global warming thread which revealed that about 25% of a sample of TSR users do not think global warming is a problem caused by man, I am starting this thread to attempt to understand the 'skeptic of science'. I would like to hear from anyone who disagrees with any currently accepted scientific theory such as global warming. evolution etc for a non-religious reason. Some things I want to know:

1) Which theory you disagree with
2) Any relevant qualifications in that area of science
3) Your reasons for disagreeing
4) Your reasons for thinking that your own viewpoint on this topic is superior to the view of thousands of scientists who have established a consensus on the most likely theory.

Once again, I would like to stress that I am not looking for religious objections.

And I wasn't sure which forum this should go in, so mods: feel free to move it somewhere more appropriate.
There are two big issues, imv.

1) The media are a powerful force in feeding the masses information and a political orientation to that information - climate change is the most obvious example.

2) As science has advanced so it has become necessarily distant from 'layman' understanding and what we can't understand we're less likely to accept as fact.
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j.alexanderh
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#30
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#30
(Original post by Oswy)
There are two big issues, imv.

1) The media are a powerful force in feeding the masses information and a political orientation to that information - climate change is the most obvious example.

2) As science has advanced so it has become necessarily distant from 'layman' understanding and what we can't understand we're less likely to accept as fact.
Yes, number one sounds like a very plausible, and forgivable. reason for initial skepticism, but many skeptics will not change their mind even when presented with evidence. Number two is not a good reason for being skeptical at all, especially when one considers all the things science has done: how many PC users understand how a computer works? (My point here is that science has given very little reason for distrust; I am aware that a computer can be demonstrated to work.) I suspect that many people are skeptical of global warming because it is inconvenient for them if it is true as it requires them to actually do something. As for evolution, I guess it challenges the way many people see themselves. I want to understand what makes them reject the science, though; is it nothing more than an inability to face 'inconvenient' truths? (Of course, none of the above applies to people who take issue with the science behind the theories; I am hardly in a position to argue against them.)
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garethDT
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#31
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#31
(Original post by RobJ93)
Faith is the denial of observation so that beliefs can be preserved'.
I think this accurately describes the point I've been trying to make.

Scientists' faith in the tangible world being all there is means that they deny the observations of others (who have experienced the paranormal) to preserve their own stubborn and very unscientific stance on the matter.

I think it's time scientists swallowed their pride and conceded that people who see ghosts are not just imagining it or seeing a trick of the light etc. These arguments just don't wash any more, ghosts sightings have been reported in every corner of the world since time began, often by people who were previously sceptics.

Scientists ought to be trying to understand this phenomena rather than denying its very existence.
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username196545
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#32
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#32
Isn't this all just linked to the problem of inductivism?

Havent read the OP well. Sleepy.
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IQ Test
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#33
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#33
...are idiots.

[Waits for negs :ninja:].
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there's too much love
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#34
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#34
Have you looked into Hume's problem of induction or Karl Popper?
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Oswy
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#35
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#35
(Original post by j.alexanderh)
Yes, number one sounds like a very plausible, and forgivable. reason for initial skepticism, but many skeptics will not change their mind even when presented with evidence. Number two is not a good reason for being skeptical at all, especially when one considers all the things science has done: how many PC users understand how a computer works? (My point here is that science has given very little reason for distrust; I am aware that a computer can be demonstrated to work.) I suspect that many people are skeptical of global warming because it is inconvenient for them if it is true as it requires them to actually do something. As for evolution, I guess it challenges the way many people see themselves. I want to understand what makes them reject the science, though; is it nothing more than an inability to face 'inconvenient' truths? (Of course, none of the above applies to people who take issue with the science behind the theories; I am hardly in a position to argue against them.)
I take your points, and yes, much scepticism about global warming is probably maintained because its implications lead to inconvenient changes in behaviour (if, that is, something is to be done about it).

"Number two is not a good reason for being skeptical at all, especially when one considers all the things science has done: how many PC users understand how a computer works? (My point here is that science has given very little reason for distrust; I am aware that a computer can be demonstrated to work.)"
The problem here is that you can't lump all 'science' together as equally demonstrable in its 'truth value' in practical terms or equally attractive in its consequences. I agree that technology constitutes strong evidence of the viability of the specific science on which it relies for its existence, but not all science is lucky enough to have such demonstrative technological outlets and that a PC works doesn't demonstrate the viability of climate change science.
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py0alb
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#36
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#36
(Original post by Oswy)
I take your points, and yes, much scepticism about global warming is probably maintained because its implications lead to inconvenient changes in behaviour (if, that is, something is to be done about it).



The problem here is that you can't lump all 'science' together as equally demonstrable in its 'truth value' in practical terms or equally attractive in its consequences. I agree that technology constitutes strong evidence of the viability of the specific science on which it relies for its existence, but not all science is lucky enough to have such demonstrative technological outlets and that a PC works doesn't demonstrate the viability of climate change science.
Science, above all, is a methodology for attempting to understand the world around us. It is the methodology that has produced computers and houses and planes and the eradication of small pox and every other single thing that makes our life better than those of early homo erectus.

It is science as a methodology that has been completely and utterly vindicated over the course of centuries. Obviously the paradigms of science come and go (thats the entire point, after all), but the methodology remains consistent.

It is perfectly reasonable to argue against the way science is presented to the public, or even to question the validity of the current paradigm (that's what scientists do on a daily basis), but to be skeptical about the efficacy of science as a method is sheer lunacy.


(Original post by garethDT)
...
Scientists have investigated the "supernatural" time and time and time again, with an open mind and the most imaginative and flexible methods possible. If even a shred of evidence had been found, then the phenomenon would have been acknowledged and investigated further, and would be called "natural". The supernatural, by definition, is alleged phenomena for which there is no reliable evidence whatsoever.
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Oswy
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#37
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#37
(Original post by py0alb)
Science, above all, is a methodology for attempting to understand the world around us. It is the methodology that has produced computers and houses and planes and the eradication of small pox and every other single thing that makes our life better than those of early homo erectus.

It is science as a methodology that has been completely and utterly vindicated over the course of centuries. Obviously the paradigms of science come and go (thats the entire point, after all), but the methodology remains consistent.

It is perfectly reasonable to argue against the way science is presented to the public, or even to question the validity of the current paradigm (that's what scientists do on a daily basis), but to be skeptical about the efficacy of science as a method is sheer lunacy.

...
Insofar as scientific theories can be practically demonstrated as carrying truth-value, through such things as working computers, planes and vaccines, then the wider, non-scientific, public have some strong evidence to counter whatever scepticism they might otherwise have harboured. It's hard for me to deny the effectiveness of QM (whatever the actual disputes and theoretical problems within the field) when I have a working mobile phone or other piece of electronic equipment the effectiveness of which is entirely dependent upon the predictive power of that theory. If I don't have access to such practical evidence then there is room for my scepticism as a lay person, regardless of whether the claim is made that all science conforms to the same methdological 'rules'.

Besides, I'm sceptical (ahem) about the extent to which all science does follow the same methodological path in practice. I'm aware, for example, that while much emphasis is placed on the importance of 'falsification' in the testing of a theory, in practicality 'verification' often easily suffices, depending on what is practical (whether in scientific terms or, just as possible, cost terms).
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garethDT
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#38
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#38
(Original post by py0alb)


Scientists have investigated the "supernatural" time and time and time again, with an open mind and the most imaginative and flexible methods possible. If even a shred of evidence had been found, then the phenomenon would have been acknowledged and investigated further, and would be called "natural". The supernatural, by definition, is alleged phenomena for which there is no reliable evidence whatsoever.
The witness testimony of millions of people, many of them previously sceptics, how is that not evidence?

If scientists can't find a way to examine it then why don't they just say 'we don't know', rather than 'our conventional methods cannot measure this phenomena therefore it doesn't exist and millions of people are either lying or deluded'. That's actually a very childish way of looking at it.
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py0alb
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#39
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(Original post by Oswy)
Insofar as scientific theories can be practically demonstrated as carrying truth-value, through such things as working computers, planes and vaccines, then the wider, non-scientific, public have some strong evidence to counter whatever scepticism they might otherwise have harboured. It's hard for me to deny the effectiveness of QM (whatever the actual disputes and theoretical problems within the field) when I have a working mobile phone or other piece of electronic equipment the effectiveness of which is entirely dependent upon the predictive power of that theory. If I don't have access to such practical evidence then there is room for my scepticism as a lay person, regardless of whether the claim is made that all science conforms to the same methdological 'rules'.

Besides, I'm sceptical (ahem) about the extent to which all science does follow the same methodological path in practice. I'm aware, for example, that while much emphasis is placed on the importance of 'falsification' in the testing of a theory, in practicality 'verification' often easily suffices, depending on what is practical (whether in scientific terms or, just as possible, cost terms).

Possibly true, but I suppose you could argue that science is the idealised methodology that we strive for as scientists: just because in practice we occasionally (frequently?) fall short does not invalidate the method itself or make it no longer worth attempting to be as rigorous as external constraints allow. Clearly human error and fallibility is not impinging upon the power of the methodology so much as to render it completely impotent.

I would always recommend increasing the depth of your knowledge in whatever scientific field you are interested in, so that you can back up your initial scepticism with a coherent understanding of the issues. Some fields of science are actually surprisingly accessible.
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Oswy
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#40
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#40
(Original post by garethDT)
The witness testimony of millions of people, many of them previously sceptics, how is that not evidence?

...
Millions of people, Hindus most obviously, believe in the migration of the 'soul' from one earthly being to another, i.e. reincarnation. Millions of people, Christians most obviously, believe in the ascension of the 'soul', either to heaven or hell. Hasn't (at least) one group of these millions got to be mistaken, no matter how sincenrely they believe or whatever personal testimony they might have to support their belief? I suppose you could argue that Hindu souls are reincarnated and Christian souls do go to heaven or hell, so that it's more a matter of what you believe determining what happens, is that your position?
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