Science

I’ve been following a few threads on Dean’s World like the Intelligent Design Thread and the HIV Does Not Cause AIDS thread, along with the perennial USEnet Evolution Argument, and I’ve come to wonder something.

When did science stop being science?

Science is a way of thinking. It is the logical observation of objective occurrences, analysis of the observation, predictions based on that analysis and the testing of those predictions.

Science doesn’t seem to be any of those things now. Science now seems to be the recitation of dogma presented by the High Scientist. People seem to think that if they can spew back a series of pronouncements from the High Priests of Science, they are scientific. You are not thinking scientifically if you are not thinking. If all you are doing is reciting back what has been told to you, accept that for what it is.

We are dealing with a lot of bad “science” right now. Evolution, as we understand it, is bad science. It makes no reliable predictions. The predictions it makes rarely survive the next fossil find. Evolution is broken. Global warming is bad science. It is based on the idea that human greenhouse gas production is significantly raising the temperature of the planet. It predicted that the global temperature would rise at an increasing rate and exceed historic norms. It has failed this — warming is not accelerating, and is well within historic norms. Secondhand smoke is a bad science. It isn’t even based on misunderstanding — it flat-out fraud. The “increase” in cancer rates were well under what would ever be considered statistically significant, and in the giant political “Telephone” game, the rate keeps growing and growing.

My issue isn’t that there are lazy thinking people. There always have been, and always will be. What bothers me is that so many people think that if they lazily collect pronouncements, then they are scientifically informed, and are therefore duty-bound to shout down any dissenters.

Dissent is vital to science. Science without dissent isn’t.

9 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    Science is a way of thinking. It is the logical observation of objective occurrences, analysis of the observation, predictions based on that analysis and the testing of those predictions.

    Uhhhmmm, exactly what expriments, predictions or evidence does ID present? If it fails at these, then it fails to be science.

    Science doesn’t seem to be any of those things now. Science now seems to be the recitation of dogma presented by the High Scientist. People seem to think that if they can spew back a series of pronouncements from the High Priests of Science, they are scientific. You are not thinking scientifically if you are not thinking. If all you are doing is reciting back what has been told to you, accept that for what it is.

    This is patently silly. Scientists are right now doing research. Example: the research on the type three secretory system and its relationship to the bacterial flagellum (which incidentally shows the flagellum is not irreducible complex…to bad ID theorists didn’t have the wherewithall to do the actual research). If it was simply reciting “dogma” as you put it there would be no new research. And this is particularly funny considering that there is no ID experiments, predictions, or evidence.

    Evolution, as we understand it, is bad science. It makes no reliable predictions. The predictions it makes rarely survive the next fossil find. Evolution is broken.

    Please, this is a tired old argument that basically is an attempt by creationists to stave off actual evidence destroying the God of the Gaps argument. It goes like this:

    There is a gap between two species, i.e., not transitional fossil. Scientists (real ones) do the actual research/field work and amazing find a transitional fossil. The psuedo-scientist crationist shakes his head sadly and says the situation is even worse. Now there are two gaps where there was once one.

    So…show us an ID experiment, prediction, or evidence. Failure to do so fails your own criteria and shows that you are one of the “lazy thinking people”.

  2. Phelps says:

    I would expect ID to show irreducible complexity.

    I would expect ID to show that genetic mutation is overwhelmingly destructive rather than adaptive, and that mutation in higher lifeforms acquire mutations at too slow a rate to foster speciation.

    I would expect ID to show that regression analysis of the genetic structure of varied lifeforms would fail to show a statistically significant lineage as would be expected by mutation and natural selection.

    I would expect that there would be many inactive genes that are identical in both very low and very high lifeforms that can be induced to activate and drastically change the morphology of the creature to resemble “unrelated” organisms. (This is the one that I think is the major falsifiable prediction.)

    That’s just off the top of my head.

  3. Mexigogue says:

    Niiiiiice comment on your banner!!!

  4. Phelps says:

    You get that reference too, right?

  5. Phelps says:

    That’s Lord Vadar to you!

  6. @Steve
    You would find a great wealth of excellent scientific paper (ID, pro and con) here: http://www.iscid.org/pcid.php at the International Society of Complexity and design.

    Quite a few describe the “expriments, predictions or evidence” you ask for.

  7. UML Guy says:

    My only disagreement is with the idea that this is new. Argument from authority has been an ongoing problem with science as long as science has existed. Yes, the ideal of science is exactly the opposite of argument from authority; but the practictioners of science are human beings, and just as fallible as anyone else.

    Of course, the only problem that has plagued science as long as argument from authority is the conviction that dissent == truth. That’s really just another form of argument from authority, with the assumption that dissenters are automatically heroic mavericks who see where the sclerotic old fogeys can’t. Sometimes the young turk is just a young punk.

  8. TheKlutz says:

    Science and religion (Christianity) have not always been the enemies they are today. Newton, Kepler, Galileo, Tyco Brahe, and Copernicus were all Christians. Newton firmly believed in what we would consider “I.D.” today- that the universe shows design. An interesting note about Copernicus- Georg Rheticus was an instructor at Wittenberg Seminary (where Luther was) and financed the publishing of Copernicus’ book placing the earth at the center of the universe. They didn’t necessarily believe him but they had no problem with his theory. Copernicus actually placed the earth in the center for one reason in particular and it had nothing to do with logics- the sun was the center of the universe just as God, the Light, is the center of all things.
    Newton’s Christianity helped him apply physics to the earth as well as to the heavens. It was once assumed that the earth and heavens operated differently but he believed God would use universal laws throughout the universe as God is a God of order, not chaos.
    Christian presuppositions made science possible- the Dark Ages came not because of the Church so much as 1) a lack of latin translations of greek works and 2) later on, once there were translations, too much reliance was placed on the Greek. Galileo’s work didn’t contrast the Bible but rather contrasted ARISTOTLE. Aristotle’s views had become Church doctrine through Aquinas’ works. Since tradition is just as important as Scripture in the Roman church, this caused a dilemna.