Do you believe the scientific community in 2020?

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klrman
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phouton wrote:
First, that's patently untrue. Science exists because we don't know things, otherwise there would be no point. The fundamental question is about "ways of knowing". Science is the only reliable way we have found because it is based on logic, rigour, and repeatability. Other methods typically use assertions and logical fallacies, to which humans are very prone. The scientific method tries to get away from those problems. And the "proof" is in the pudding of the descriptive and predictive power of the models produced.

 

I was referring as to how the scientific community at large can and do act at times like schoolyard bullies when it suites them.

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klrman wrote:

I was referring as to how the scientific community at large can and do act at times like schoolyard bullies when it suites them.

To prove your point and make your conjecture possibly valid, you should have followed your statement about “scientific bullies” with something like this…

“As an example….”

Otherwise, this is just another example of the many posts in this thread throwing words out that are honestly, upon even a cursory examination, just bunk.

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klrman wrote:

phouton wrote:
First, that’s patently untrue. Science exists because we don’t know things, otherwise there would be no point. The fundamental question is about “ways of knowing”. Science is the only reliable way we have found because it is based on logic, rigour, and repeatability. Other methods typically use assertions and logical fallacies, to which humans are very prone. The scientific method tries to get away from those problems. And the “proof” is in the pudding of the descriptive and predictive power of the models produced.

 


I was referring as to how the scientific community at large can and do act at times like schoolyard bullies when it suites them.


Even if that’s true, it doesn’t invalidate the science. Humans behaving as humans do doesn’t suddenly become worse or better if they also happen to be scientists.

Also, it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with hard-headed ingnorance to which the response can sometimes be ridicule, other times, streamrolling, etc. Scientists come in all flavors of personality, political, economic, religious, dietary, …. preferences and inclinations. But again, none of this has any effect on the validity or reliability of the science.

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Deputy Dog wrote:
How crazy is this
Quote:
Quote:
Deputy Dog wrote: I guess my question is where does real science stop and philosophy start? I don’t trust the peer review process. Example: Why should we expect the future to be like the past?
There are countless examples of why we should expect the future to be like the past. That does not mean that the future will always be like the past. However, the last time I clicked the button switch on my flashlight it turned off. I expect it will come on when I click it again. The science behind that is solid. I expect that it will get dark later tonight like it did last night. Again solid science behind why we should expect the future to be like the past.

You’re giving examples of how it’s been in the past. So, if you’re saying that because it always has been, aren’t you really begging the question? So I ask again why should we expect the FUTURE to be like the past?


Philosophy broadly means thinking about things. Science/math etc are simply subsets of philosophy in that they deal with a narrower set of “things”. Math deals with logic that can be expressed by a certain language. Physics deals with virtually everything in the universe. Chemistry and everything else is stamp collecting. Wink But seriously, chemistry is a more qualitative offshoot of quantum physics because the calculations get too complicated. Biology is sort of a subset of specific kinds of chemistry. And so on… plus lots of links between the different domains. But all relate to thinking about and understanding their domains. So, while I get that philosophy can have some mumbo-jumbo, the common derision towards it is largely undeserved.

As for why to expect the future to be like the past, it’s an interesting question. First I assume you mean the future vs past functional behavior of the universe. The short answer is we don’t know for certain, but we do with a high probability and confidence. The fact is everyone including you makes this assumption on a daily and ongoing basis, consciously or not. Science formalizes it a bit. Some points on why it’s a reasonable assumption:

  • consistent observations in support: we keep observing the same patterns of behavior
  • lack of observations to the contrary: we have never managed to find the behaviors changing in place or time without some other cause
  • utility: if the future is like the past and we learn past patterns, we have some useful knowledge going into the future, otherwise we remain ignorant. If the future is unlike the past, we wasted our time, but also, we have bigger problems!
  • currently the most sensible position to hold: why should we expect the future to be different from the past?

So, the answer is because it works and has demonstrated benefits.

It’s common for people to be uncomfortable with uncertainty. But accuracy usually requires it. You can have certainty… if you don’t mind being wrong.

We don’t know for certain if the physics of the universe will remain consistent. But it’s also pointless not to assume it.

hank
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I think you’re making my point.

I haven’t yet figured out what your point is. I don’t see how the definition of uniformitarianism makes it.

If your point is that shit happens, this is true. Pick a short enough time span and there will always be some unprecedented event happening during it.

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klrman wrote:

Many people  don’t wholly trust science because it has one monumental flaw.  If it can’t explain, document and verify something, more often than not, that thing does not exist in their minds and then they ridicule people and even perform well documented smear campaigns against those who have experienced something that cannot be easily verified.  It’s a fatal blow that continues to turn many away.   They can be quite arrogant at times too, not accepting that not everything has to be explained by science to be real.

Your criticism applies to some scientists, maybe, but not to science. The whole idea behind science is to reduce bias as much as possible. All the criticism of science in this thread is criticism of people tainting the scientific method with bias due to various motives other than seeking the truth. The fact that people corrupt science to their own ends doesn’t make the scientific method any less effective at eliminating bias and illuminating reality – if it is not corrupted and is done properly.

The same smear campaigns are often directed at scientists by those who are pushing agendas based on non-scientific methods of defining reality. This has been going on for centuries- so the arrogance can go both ways. In our government in the USA now the government scientists are often forbidden from even using certain words and phrases that come from science in their reports.

As for it being a “monumental flaw” of science that it does not accept something as true unless it can be verified through the scientific method: that is not a flaw, it is the essence of the usefulness and value of science. Sure, things that aren’t capable of being tested through the scientific method can be real, such as your real psychological feeling about a person or object. But can you argue that the gravitational constant or the speed of light is real, or that you’ve calculated them accurately, without testing using science? No, you can’t. You’re talking about different types of reality, which require different types of evidence for us to believe in them. When it comes to defining and proving what is real in the natural world and what is not, science has no peer.

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SIGShooter wrote:

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I am truly sorry about that.

Thanks! Thumbs Up

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hank
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https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22consensus+statement%22

I don’t think you’ll find any of these organized consensus statements amount to “bullying”

Oli
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Nothing about this Earth is constant or consistent or repeating unless you are talking about very short time frames. The scientific consensus is that all of the continents on this Earth where at one time one massive land mass. Nobody believes we’re going back to that point. There seems to be consensus that at various times magnetic North and South Poles have flipped. I don’t believe there is any consensus as to how often that has happened or what has caused it . All of that molten material in the center is a likely cause. So the bottom line is that Earth and everything on it is constantly evolving. Asteroids, volcanoes, plus many other “natural” phenomena can not be predicted. So different people are thinking about different time frames when talking about repeatability and what the “future” will look like. And these variables cannot fully be accounted for in the earth’s past.

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Oli wrote:
Nothing about this Earth is constant or consistent or repeating unless you are talking about very short time frames. The scientific consensus is that all of the continents on this Earth where at one time one massive land mass. Nobody believes we’re going back to that point. There seems to be consensus that at various times magnetic North and South Poles have flipped. I don’t believe there is any consensus as to how often that has happened or what has caused it . All of that molten material in the center is a likely cause. So the bottom line is that Earth and everything on it is constantly evolving. Asteroids, volcanoes, plus many other “natural” phenomena can not be predicted. So different people are thinking about different time frames when talking about repeatability and what the “future” will look like. And these variables cannot fully be accounted for in the earth’s past.

That is a pile of assertions contradicted by the very existence of entire disciplines.

Astrophysics deals with very large time frames, asteroids, planet formation etc.

Geology and the relatively recent breakthrough of tectonic plate theory explain and predict continental drift, volcanoes, earthquakes and many other phenomena.

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Oli wrote:
Nothing about this Earth is constant or consistent or repeating unless you are talking about very short time frames. The scientific consensus is that all of the continents on this Earth where at one time one massive land mass. Nobody believes we’re going back to that point. There seems to be consensus that at various times magnetic North and South Poles have flipped. I don’t believe there is any consensus as to how often that has happened or what has caused it . All of that molten material in the center is a likely cause. So the bottom line is that Earth and everything on it is constantly evolving. Asteroids, volcanoes, plus many other “natural” phenomena can not be predicted. So different people are thinking about different time frames when talking about repeatability and what the “future” will look like. And these variables cannot fully be accounted for in the earth’s past.

Seems like you’re arguing that, if a scientific theory can’t predict all change forever, it has no value. That denies several realities, not the least of which are: 1) that many scientific theories incorporate predictions of change in one or more variables over time; and 2) a theory can be useful even if it can’t be 100% accurate and can’t predict everything.

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Lightbringer wrote:
All I know is that many different weather sources/models can’t accurately predict the weather even 2-3 days out, so how in Hell can they accurately predict what’ll happen 10/50/100/1000 years out?

Please be aware that nobody claims to predict the weather years in advance. Climate and weather are related but distinct concepts.

Consider a grossly simplified analogy: if you have a good random number generator, you can not predict what any single output may be, although you can learn trends like the maximum and minimum range it operates within, and you can observe the average result.

If you modify the code by adding what for the sake of similar terms I will call a “forcing factor,” which multiplies the random number by a non-random number, the effect is predictable even though specific numbers still are not. The minimum, maximum, and average will all be affected proportionate to that forcing factor.

When talking about climate research, the forcing factor is not easy to determine, but it does relate to several fairly well known physical effects that we can attempt to quantify. There is uncertainty, so the research concludes there is range of possible results, not a single fixed prediction, but the overall range indicates positive, non-zero forcing.

Lightbringer wrote:
Yet “scientific models predict…” blah blah blah, the end of life as we know it.

The end of life as we know it is actually is not a predicted effect for what you’re getting at, although politicians often make such a claim, and journalists sometimes do.

The distinction between what scientists predict and what others say is a source of sometimes serious trouble for researchers. A meteorologist in my area recently had his job threatened, partially as a result. One of his colleagues was previously kicked off a state government advisory board after proceeding to publish research showing one of the board’s talking points was over-stated. Note, in both these cases, the researchers concurred with others about the reality of the effect they were discussing, but the magnitude was different between their data showed and what others expected.

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NorthernHarrier wrote:
As for it being a “monumental flaw” of science that it does not accept something as true unless it can be verified through the scientific method: that is not a flaw, it is the essence of the usefulness and value of science.

I think it would be more accurate to say it is not a flaw because accepting something true or not is not what science does.

Science is the method. Accepting something as true or not is an individual decision that can be guided by science as long as a way of applying science to the question can be identified.

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iamlucky13 wrote:
NorthernHarrier wrote:
As for it being a “monumental flaw” of science that it does not accept something as true unless it can be verified through the scientific method: that is not a flaw, it is the essence of the usefulness and value of science.

I think it would be more accurate to say it is not a flaw because accepting something true or not is not what science does.

Science is the method. Accepting something as true or not is an individual decision that can be guided by science as long as a way of applying science to the question can be identified.

I was basically making that point – except that I would say hypothesis testing is what the method does, and hypothesis testing does test whether a hypothesis is true or not true under the test conditions.

hank
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https://duckduckgo.com/?q=can%27t+predict+weather+how+predict+climate.

The old “weatherman can’t predict …. how can climate scientists” question is pretty well answered in a number of sites. That search will find quite a few of them.

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NorthernHarrier wrote:
iamlucky13 wrote:
NorthernHarrier wrote:
As for it being a “monumental flaw” of science that it does not accept something as true unless it can be verified through the scientific method: that is not a flaw, it is the essence of the usefulness and value of science.

I think it would be more accurate to say it is not a flaw because accepting something true or not is not what science does.

Science is the method. Accepting something as true or not is an individual decision that can be guided by science as long as a way of applying science to the question can be identified.

I was basically making that point – except that I would say hypothesis testing is what the method does, and hypothesis testing does test whether a hypothesis is true or not true under the test conditions.

Strictly speaking, hypothesis testing does not accept claims as true. It either rejects claims or fails to reject them.

That’s “true” in the mathematical sense, which means true for all possible cases. The results of hypothesis tests and the scientific method will often be true for all practical intents and purposes in that the result is known with a high degree of confidence. But there is an important logical/philosophical distinction.

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“Philosophy” being used as a not-quite-insult toward modern science is the perfect demonstration of so many people not understanding what epistemology is in a general sense, how important to our understanding of the world it is, and how it interacts (and is intertwined) with linguistics, sociology and psychology.

Oli
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40 years ago scientists/experts were predicting large increases in human population. That turned out to be true. At that time they were predicted that we would run out of crude oil in about 20 or so years, as in 20 years ago. That turned out to be a very bad prediction. If that prediction had not been so wrong it’s possible that other scientists would have been predicting global warming long before they started to. It was clear to me that massive population growth would cause pollution of streams, rivers oceans and certainly air, and also consume large quantities of many of the Earth’s natural resources. I value science/scientists and believe that most scientists are working in good faith. I’m simply pointing out that some variables are always going to be wrong in predicting the future. Always. I’m not suggesting that they should stop trying because of that.

hank
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This is quite good, if you read it all the way through and understand the charts at the end.

https://www.theclimateconsensus.com/content/weathervsclimate

TL/dr: the weather forecast will help plan a camping trip; the climate model will help plan a garden (or choose which trees to plant, I’d add)

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BurningPlayd0h wrote:
“Philosophy” being used as a not-quite-insult toward modern science is the perfect demonstration of so many people not understanding what epistemology is in a general sense, how important to our understanding of the world it is, and how it interacts (and is intertwined) with linguistics, sociology and psychology.
Thumbs Up The forum could use a “like” button.

Oli wrote:
I’m simply pointing out that some variables are always going to be wrong in predicting the future. Always.

And? For some reason this is a surprise to those who don’t understand that knowledge is incremental and asymptotic. Or those who expect certainty.

More importantly, we need to be clear on what is meant by wrong, and have a sense of proportionality. Wrong in what way and by how much? A great saying is “All models are wrong, but some are useful.

The only absolutely correct model for a dataset is the dataset itself, i.e. a model that has as many variables as data points in the dataset. But at that point why bother modeling? Trying to describe a tendency with fewer variables means some approximations are made. That’s not an “error”, it’s a practical strategy for making a problem tractable. It makes it possible to get a useful answer instead of no answer or a simple but useless answer. Incrementally improving a model could be seen as admitting that all previous models were “wrong”, but that’s misleading.

PV=nRT is wrong. F=ma is wrong. It does not detract from their usefulness.

Oli
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https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-didnt-first-earth-days... this story explains failed predictions from scientists around the time of the first Earth day It’s complicated.

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I wasn’t trying to predict the future Bradbury told John Miller in a 2003 Wall Street Journal interview, “I was trying to prevent it.”

I think “if this goes on” was the key consideration that first Earth Day of 1970. A question basic to most science fiction.

And now? “ Almost half the songbirds are gone. Who knew?

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Oli wrote:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-didnt-first-earth-days... this story explains failed predictions from scientists around the time of the first Earth day It’s complicated.

Where’s the failure?

Clickbait/misleading title. Unfortunately no links to actual papers/models.

For the most part, the models “failed” for the best possible reason: people reacted and changed behavior: increasing agricultural output (GMOs!), banning certain pesticides and chemicals, regulating pollution, developing new techniques for exploiting resources previously not feasible, etc.

It would be best to see the actual papers, which almost surely have phrasing like “if the present rate of X continues… then Y”. Since the condition fortunately became false, it’s not that the predictions were wrong, they served their purpose!

The other example is just terrible:

Quote:
Many of the era’s incorrect predictions centered on resource scarcity—oil, minerals, food—but perhaps the most famous one came ten years after the first Earth Day, when a scientist and economist made a public bet that lives on in environmental discourse today.

That is not a prediction from science, but a personal opinion/bet!

This former science journalist does a good job of presenting what the science (papers) actually says, and clearing up misleading cr@p from clickbait articles, politicians, and “personalities” on all sides of debates:

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phouton wrote:
NorthernHarrier wrote:
iamlucky13 wrote:
NorthernHarrier wrote:
As for it being a “monumental flaw” of science that it does not accept something as true unless it can be verified through the scientific method: that is not a flaw, it is the essence of the usefulness and value of science.

I think it would be more accurate to say it is not a flaw because accepting something true or not is not what science does.

Science is the method. Accepting something as true or not is an individual decision that can be guided by science as long as a way of applying science to the question can be identified.

I was basically making that point – except that I would say hypothesis testing is what the method does, and hypothesis testing does test whether a hypothesis is true or not true under the test conditions.

Strictly speaking, hypothesis testing does not accept claims as true. It either rejects claims or fails to reject them.

That’s “true” in the mathematical sense, which means true for all possible cases. The results of hypothesis tests and the scientific method will often be true for all practical intents and purposes in that the result is known with a high degree of confidence. But there is an important logical/philosophical distinction.

If you read my post again, you’ll see that I didn’t assert that hypothesis testing accepts claims as true or not true. And I understand confidence intervals and probability, which are beyond the scope of the post I was addressing with my comments.

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I can offer you my opinion on that. I have a PhD and worked in academic research for years. I participated on many research project, including medical/clinical research. My PhD is in technical field.

I dont know what people mean when they say “scientific community”. Wast majority of scientists are very narrowly specialised. We all have areas where we are considered “expersts” and unimginably more areas where our knowledge is either superficial or equal to common knowledge. If you ask my opinion on some geological or sociological phenomenon, you likely wont get better answer than if you asked random person.

Now if a comunity of specialists, for example molecular biologist agree on somenthing, it doesnt mean its true. Their idea of what it really is will very likely be much more probable than someones who is not specialist, but it will not necessarily be true.

But wait, there is more. It gets even more complicated when it gets beyond numbers and raw data. As soon as you make a theory,, you will definately find other scientists who can have a different explaination that will make as much sense and maybe even more. Doesnt mean any of you is right. I never met a fellow scientist (specialist in my field) with whom I would agree 100% on everything we researched.

So I would be very carefull about putting words like “scientific”, “community” and “consensus” together.

I do believe in research, discovering new things, finding new explanation for old things. I believe in publishing results and data, in reproducibility of results. I believe in truthful and honest diacussion. And I believe in mistakes. Because I sure as hell have made many.

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Congratulations guys on some interesting reading. And you didn’t get the thread locked. Thumbs Up

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I’m going have to simplify some information as I’m too lazy to write long paragraph

The science revolution occur around 400 years.

Way before Science exist, we used to believe in obsolete medical theory called the Miasma theory which most people believed that infections were caused by foul odors. Centurys later, the scientific theory called ‘Germ theory of disease’ became

During the Miasama Era, Hand washing washing wasn’t the norm until the 19th century which is the effective way of prevents the spread of many diseases. “

The guy who discover hand washing effectiveness Ignaz Semmelweis

“Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings, and some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and mocked him for it. In 1865, the increasingly outspoken Semmelweis supposedly suffered a nervous breakdown and was treacherously committed to an asylum by his colleague. He died a mere 14 days later, at the age of 47, after being beaten by the guards, from a gangrenous wound on his right hand which might have been caused by the beating. Semmelweis’s practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory, and Joseph Lister, acting on the French microbiologist’s research, practised and operated using hygienic methods, with great success.”

Galileo Galilei “father of modern science”

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pennzy wrote:
Congratulations guys on some interesting reading. And you didn’t get the thread locked. Thumbs Up

Here here!!

Thumbs Up
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@Dr.Phillip:

You don't like this sentence:

"If the scientific community (in 2020) come to a consensus on a subject, I generally believe them."

 

That's fine.

I'm not a scientist.

How would you better phrase it?

 

I thought the science was in on some subjects, like the earth being round instead of flat, and vaccines not causing autism, that sort of thing.

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Observable, measurable, reproducible results. Yes absolutely.

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