Page 1 of 2 [ 19 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

Stargazer43
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Nov 2011
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,604

24 Mar 2017, 5:07 pm

Why don't people seem to understand or trust science these days? All science really is is seeing something happen over and over again, and drawing conclusions from that. Newton saw that things tend to fall towards the Earth rather than the other way around, so after seeing that happen a few hundred times it's pretty easy to say that it will happen on the 101st time also. Modern scientific discoveries, correlations, and conclusions may be more complicated than that in general, but it's pretty much the exact same thing.

Most people I know who aren't involved in the sciences don't understand this, and think it's some nebulous realm of randomly mixing chemicals together until something happens.



Ganondox
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Age: 25
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,752
Location: USA

24 Mar 2017, 5:16 pm

People have always been skeptical of scientists just like they've been skeptical. Unless you're doing the experiments yourself, you're just taking the scientists word that that is what he saw.


_________________
Cinnamon and sugary
Softly Spoken lies
You never know just how you look
Through other people's eyes

Autism FAQs http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt186115.html


BaalChatzaf
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,048
Location: Monroe Twp. NJ

03 Apr 2017, 9:12 pm

Ganondox wrote:
People have always been skeptical of scientists just like they've been skeptical. Unless you're doing the experiments yourself, you're just taking the scientists word that that is what he saw.


That is an excellent point. But doing otherwise is totally impractical. Most people do not have the means or resources to replicate experiments. We just have to rely on the honesty of people who do science. Since we have the technology that science produces we have a basis for accepting scientific findings. Particularly since showing errors or falsifying deficient hypotheses enhances one's scientific reputation. So far physical science has delivered the goodies. Can you say that about religion or the politically oriented disciplines?


_________________
Socrates' Last Words: I drank what!! !?????


Ban-Dodger
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Jun 2011
Age: 1023
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,820
Location: Возможно в будущее к Россию идти... можеть быть...

04 Apr 2017, 1:46 am

...because so-called «scientists» are not immune to being bought and paid for. A so-called scientist could just as very well be an actor, a politician, even potentially CGI-created (and yes, believe it or not, technologies do exist that can fake the existence of people who do not even exist). Just like Bought-and-Paid-For Accountants can Cook the Books, Bought-and-Paid-For Judges will Engage in Treason, Bought-and-Paid-For Politicians will Make False Promises, any Bought-and-Paid-For Scientist or Doctor can still promote Pseudo-Science.

Stargazer43 wrote:
Why don't people seem to understand or trust science these days? All science really is is seeing something happen over and over again, and drawing conclusions from that. Newton saw that things tend to fall towards the Earth rather than the other way around, so after seeing that happen a few hundred times it's pretty easy to say that it will happen on the 101st time also. Modern scientific discoveries, correlations, and conclusions may be more complicated than that in general, but it's pretty much the exact same thing.

Most people I know who aren't involved in the sciences don't understand this, and think it's some nebulous realm of randomly mixing chemicals together until something happens.


_________________
Pay me for my signature. 私の署名ですか❓お前の買うなければなりません。Mon autographe nécessite un paiement. Которые хочет мою автографу, у тебя нужно есть деньги сюда. Bezahlst du mich, wenn du meine Unterschrift wollen.


tensordyne
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 209
Location: Kirkland, WA

04 Apr 2017, 1:57 am

Answer: Public Science Education, Public Science Interaction, Science History and Philosophy of Science Media Presentations for the Public < for your humble consideration >

The posts before this point out some things I have worried about myself. Having an undergrad physics degree of my own, I can assure you that physics concepts are solid mathematically, even if I have no experience with the mass of experiments that would need to be done to trully convince me of their experimental vericity. This concept of, "believe it based on faith in science", is an attrociously oxymoronic-like statement, btw. Everything is a calculus of doubt. Doubt it not.

I understand the pragmatic angle, but whether you like it or not, scientists have done some pretty horrific things some times. Trust is to be earned. Check up on your Dr's online record. Do your own homework; who else is going to do it for you?

The problem is two-fold. Scientists need to do their best to get science across to the public in an intelligible manner. They also need to get the public involved in science in a meaningful way as well if they want compliance of public belief with the current scientific concensus.

Don't believe in millions of year old dinosaur fossils. Fine, lets break it down into little chunks of verifiable hypotheses using technology for the public. Then we build everything back up with these solid results until it is self-evident to anyone who is honest with themselves. Involve people in actual science to the best you can, is the point. Take their observations and suggestions seriously. Science is not about dogma from experts. Expert is an honorific to be earned with difficulty and lost with ease.

To give a great example: the gene-folding program [email protected] If people experience the ideas and results of science for themselves, well, seeing is believing.

Science should not be about faith, ever. It is a public intellectual activity for all of us to do together. Science maps our conscious experience and mindful control of the physical universe into predictions of what will be experienced next, depending upon what has been made to happen, or independently observed to happen by itself, already. If you can not make a bet on it that you would have to honor, it is not really like Science, it is not even wrong.

The skeptics are good about {in my humble opinion} basic reliable science and disproving quacks [Uri Geller, I am looking at you]. On questions that actually question the status quo: Big Bang Cosmology versus its dismall record; what is the human diet?; others I am probably not aware of. Yeah, don't trust a skeptic to look over the work of a genius, for instance. How can you trust them on that? After all, they can not all be geniuses themselves, for simple statistical reasons. (Not that I am advocating anything in particular here).

Shakespear's Hamlet in Hamlet: "To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!"

That is the rub of the above, it is hard to tell for the uneducated public the difference between a charlatan and a genius. Michio Kaku, if you were to dress him up like a homeless man on the street, and you did not know he was an eminent String Theorist and a bunch of Science yourself, well, would you not think he was freaking bonkers about the things he talks about? Uh, yeah McFly!

Anywho. cool topic.

Science is a public grudge match over the predictiveness of various mental abstractions. There is nothing wrong with that. It is not an ontology (what exists), it is a public discourse over natural epistimology (how do I know what the real, normal, non-altered-states-of-consciousness world will do next). It is about time the public learned that for themselves. It is intellectually empowering to realize Scientists are just people like you and I. They are not "High Priests of What is Reality, Period, End of Discussion".

Thanks for reading and the post topic. Very interesting topic :)

Go Team Science!


_________________
Go Vegan!


mikeman7918
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2016
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,929
Location: Utah, USA

04 Apr 2017, 2:02 am

Ban-Dodger wrote:
...because so-called «scientists» are not immune to being bought and paid for. A so-called scientist could just as very well be an actor, a politician, even potentially CGI-created (and yes, believe it or not, technologies do exist that can fake the existence of people who do not even exist). Just like Bought-and-Paid-For Accountants can Cook the Books, Bought-and-Paid-For Judges will Engage in Treason, Bought-and-Paid-For Politicians will Make False Promises, any Bought-and-Paid-For Scientist or Doctor can still promote Pseudo-Science.

Actually, I have to disagree. Have you ever heard of peer review? It's a process where people, often who are in competition with the person who is making the claim and who wants them to be wrong, analyze data to try to find flaws in it and it is a brutal process that is really hard to pass. The only way to pass it is to make a case so foolproof and solid that not even highly educated people who are paid to find flaws in it can find flaws in it. Every single thing that is accepted in science has passed this process. Individual scientists can indeed be paid off but they never even try to publish in official journals or go through peer review because they know that they can't do it, so they publish to blogs or make videos trying to convince scientifically illiterate laymen instead and that is part of the reason why you can't trust everything you see in the internet. You cannot simply bribe large organizations to promote their competitors work, if anything they would jump at the opportunity to expose their competitors of fraud. That would be like getting Apple to publicly say that Windows is a superior operating system, it's not going to happen.


_________________
Also known as MarsMatter.

Diagnosed with Asperger's, ADD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2004.
In denial that it was a problem until early 2016.

Deviant Art


tensordyne
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 209
Location: Kirkland, WA

04 Apr 2017, 2:26 am

In answer to the last post, perhaps consider the following? Your post seems a bit dogmatic for my taste.

Peer Review Crisis


_________________
Go Vegan!


mikeman7918
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2016
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,929
Location: Utah, USA

04 Apr 2017, 3:26 am

tensordyne wrote:
In answer to the last post, perhaps consider the following? Your post seems a bit dogmatic for my taste.

Peer Review Crisis

I am aware that that's a thing, I was mostly just responding to the claim that a scientist can easily be paid to lie. It may not be a foolproof fact checking system but it is a fact checking system. I probably should have made that more clear in my last post.


_________________
Also known as MarsMatter.

Diagnosed with Asperger's, ADD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2004.
In denial that it was a problem until early 2016.

Deviant Art


Ban-Dodger
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Jun 2011
Age: 1023
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,820
Location: Возможно в будущее к Россию идти... можеть быть...

05 Apr 2017, 2:33 am

ACTORS can also easily fool the public into thinking that the actor is a Scientist or Doctor.
Refer to the Milgram Shock-Experiments. I have already «debunked» peer-review's reliability years ago.
For some more «modern day scrutiny» that looks into the peer-review process here's a more recent reference...

https://newrepublic.com/article/135921/science-suffering-peer-reviews-big-problems

...here is one of the comments that was made in response to that article on peer-review...
Clyde Spencer wrote:
Peer review is a misnomer. What has come to be called “peer review” is actually a screening procedure to help the money-making journals weed out research that might reflect badly on their reputations and affect their profits.

Real peer review occurs after the research is published and the peers of the author(s) have a chance to examine the protocol and results. Peer review is an essential part of the Scientific Method. The reviewers should try to replicate the results; unfortunately, this rarely happens. Indeed, in the rare instances where an effort has been made to replicate research, the results have been abysmal.

The system is broken, and once again, the the finger is pointing at the corrupting influence of government grant money and corporate greed.

mikeman7918 wrote:
tensordyne wrote:
In answer to the last post, perhaps consider the following? Your post seems a bit dogmatic for my taste.

Peer Review Crisis

I am aware that that's a thing, I was mostly just responding to the claim that a scientist can easily be paid to lie. It may not be a foolproof fact checking system but it is a fact checking system. I probably should have made that more clear in my last post.


_________________
Pay me for my signature. 私の署名ですか❓お前の買うなければなりません。Mon autographe nécessite un paiement. Которые хочет мою автографу, у тебя нужно есть деньги сюда. Bezahlst du mich, wenn du meine Unterschrift wollen.


Stargazer43
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Nov 2011
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,604

08 Apr 2017, 11:58 am

The one big caveat is that in any peer-reviewed paper, they are required to include the raw data and methods from their experiments. This means that anyone can go back, look at it, and see how they arrived at whatever conclusions they reached. If you're knowledgeable about the topic, then it's usually pretty easy to figure out if it's good quality or bogus. They also provide enough information for others to repeat their experiment. Reproducibility is one of the most important aspects of science, and for any major discovery or experiment, it will be reproduced by many different groups over time. If they get the same results, it confirms the original conclusions. If they all get wildly different results, it's back to the drawing board.

Sure, scientists can falsify data in their papers, but that hardly ever happens. If they do, then a few things will happen if they're caught, and none of them are good. They'll be instantly fired, widely discredited (thus severely hurting their chances of getting another job in their field), and depending on the specific instance, they can even be taken to criminal court and charged. Very few people are willing to take that sort of risk to drive some personal or political agenda, since most people are more concerned about things like feeding their kids and paying off their mortgage. And based on the fact that others will likely try to verify their conclusions by repeating their experiments, there's a good chance that any data falsification will eventually come to light. They are also required to report any potential conflicts of interest.

Sure, the system isn't perfect, but it does a good job. The key, from what I've found, is to look at the raw data/results from scientific articles, and treat the author's conclusions with skepticism. Sometimes scientists use statistical inferences to draw unfounded conclusions (such as the conflicting reports about chocolate both causing and preventing cancer), but they also provide you with all the data you need to make that determination yourself.



RubyWings91
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 6 Nov 2011
Age: 30
Gender: Female
Posts: 397
Location: USA

26 Apr 2017, 8:09 pm

As a scientist, I read this post and was immediately drawn to it. Part of me wanted to explore my thoughts on this subject and part of me wanted flee from this complex issue. Obviously, as I am posting this hours later, the first side ran out. Below are the reasons for skepticism of science that I could think of immediately without doing in depth research. It is therefore, by no means, intended to be all encompassing. A truly in depth answer to why people have trouble understanding or trusting science would be long enough to fill a book. What I have below are very broad generalizations, lacking even in specific examples. I hope that I still managed to get my express my understanding of the reasons why people can lack understanding about or are distrustful toward science. If anyone wants to talk more in depth about this topic, I would be happy to have a discussion about it. This is a complicated issue and I love reading about different peoples views on it.

There are many reasons for the distrust of science. The simplest answer is perhaps human nature. Science is the study of the world around us. The questions are asked and explored by people. Then the ideas that rise from these explorations are expressed to other people. Thus, at all stages,science effected by the perceptions of humans. As a result, information can be shaped and warped by the imperfect beings that we are.

At every stage of the scientific process, something might interfere with the truth. An observation that inspires a question could be an out lire. The question formed could be too open ended to be scientifically answered. The hypothesis a person comes up with could be poorly formed or poorly tested. The data could be misinterpereted. Even if all else goes well, if the information gained is miscommunicated or clash with related theories supported by other experiments and it could still result in issues.The scientific method is meant to reduce the likelihood of such issues but it can still be limited by human error.

Then there may be other factors to account for. A major issue could be that the scientists have limited resources or knowledge available, which can severely impact what they are studying. Then there are the people out there who will specifically skew data in order to get the answers that they want.

Even if all the issues have been addressed, that does not mean that the public will accept the presented information as fact. Humans are used to right and wrong being negotiable and generally, a person wants their own way to be right, and will argue against something that contradicts their longstanding views. Therefore, if say science contradicts a concept that a person has been taught was the truth since they were little, many people will choose the idea they were taught over the other one. They might decide that the other idea is wrong and it is unlikely that they will ever change their minds.

There are many reasons to be skeptical of science, some more reasonable than others. I feel that it is important to question everything and explore the answers to the best of your abilities. Without skepticism, science would become a faith related source of information, as much as any religion. As long as a person is willing to keep an open mind to what the real answer is, rather than specifically search for a way to prove their idea is right, I think that they should be skeptical. This will help keep science true, helping expose the data that is erroneous, whether from mistakes, becoming outdated or being purposefully corrupted.



izzeme
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,665

27 Apr 2017, 1:48 pm

The main problem is that people of influence (politicians, famous actors, that kind of people) hold viewpoints opposite to what science states, and sometimes even flat-out claim that scientists are wrong or lying (*CoughTrumpCough*).

Now, taking a scientific claim as true just becouse a scientist makes the claim isn't good either (as stated, they can be bought, or simply mistaken).

The point that science changes over time is also used against it.



LoveNotHate
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Oct 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,195
Location: USA

29 Apr 2017, 6:54 am

Likely, most scientists end up working for some company that produces some hazardous food, material, or some destruction to the Earth, yet, their job requires them to produce research that concludes, "This product is great".

The scientists at the food companies tell us the additives are OK.
The scientists at the beverage companies tell us aspartame is OK.
The scientists at the mining companies tell that environmental damage is OK.
The scientists at the cigarette companies tell us that cigarettes are OK.
The scientists at the telecommunication companies tell us that electromagnetic radiation is OK.
The scientists at my local nuclear power plant went on tv, and said the low nuclear waste they dump in the water is OK.
The scientists at the gas/oil companies say don't worry about climate change, it's OK.

Whaaaaat? You're skeptical of scientists?



Tallman
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 28 May 2016
Gender: Male
Posts: 48
Location: Melbourne, Australia

29 Apr 2017, 10:59 am

Note: some of the following is my view (and will probably be obvious where I write I believe/I think etc.), but most of it is a generalist view in an attempt to answer your question :)

It's probably mostly a question of education and experience. People learn many different things in many different ways throughout the course of their life. You seem to be a man of science and what you are expressing is not wrong. However, I believe there is a human element missing in the beliefs of scientism which is why you may feel that there is a sense of distrust toward science. Science is not the be all and end all of knowledge, rather its one process in the accumulation of knowledge. Maybe the question may better be asked why people don't trust scientists instead of why people don't trust science itself. Critical thinking in what to believe should not be discarded simply because 'science".

The motives for scientists to be misleading has already been answered above, and it happens a lot. Almost every other week there is a news story that a group of scientists have made a breakthrough in finding a cure for cancer and then you never hear of it again. It's because these scientists are trying to publicise their research in order to gain funding. So there is an element of economics. Funding is necessary for research to take place and we'd like to think funding is distributed based on merit but can we really be sure? Would a government provide funding for projects that go against its own good? In Australia we have the CSIRO, a government funded scientific research agency. The CSIRO made vital contributions to the advent of wifi and built and operated (still does) a radio telescope that was crucial to the 1969 moon landing. However, on more than one occasion our government has attempted to suppress research they've made that supports the theory of global warming. Even a private citizen with a lot of money and may want to fund a research project would do so with a certain bias in mind. The initial fame that came with the release of Charles Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species' (parts of which we still believe today, albeit synthesised with later theories) was thanks in part to having friends in the right places. So there are non scientific elements to which scientific findings reach a mass audience or for the research to even take place to begin with.

Personally, I tend to trust science. I don't think many would argue with the logical process of science as logic is mostly universally understood across the human race. But not everyone can be a scientist. As someone stated above, its the asking for blind faith in what a person has said, which is the very anithesis of science, that people might have a problem with. Especially when what they're being told contrasts with their pragmatic (science is pragmatic as well) views. Science tells us that the Earth is warming and that its mostly due to human activity. I don't disagree, but science also tells us that Earth was once covered in ice until the planet warmed and melted the ice, long before humans ever existed. Are we to believe that the woolly mammoths were selfish, capitalists that put profit ahead of saving the planet? There are scientists that believe another ice age could happen again in the future. So it seems that our planet goes through various stages of increasing and decreasing temperatures even without the existence of humans. So it can be easy to see why there is debate about global warming and debate is necessary to work out the best way to approach the issue. You replied to a comment above about the method and data being included in the data for people to try it for themselves. But the only people who are going to replicate the experiment are other scientists who most likely aren't going to question science. So you end up just preaching to the choir and still ask for blind faith amongst the non-scientific world.

There is also the the problem that a lot of scientific theories don't answer the why questions that most people care more about. Biology tells a lot about living organisms, but many people feel that for all the logic involved in science, it can still not produce a logical reason why life exists in the first place. Even many of the early evolutionists, including Darwin, who's work we still draw from today, started with the premise that God created life - an entirely rational, non-empirical thought. Rationalism is unavoidable, because you've got to start somewhere.

I believe in Descartes' 'cogito ergo sum' - that is 'I think, therefore, I am'. That is the only one indubitable fact that you can know in life, that you exist as a thinking thing. Because to have doubt at all proves your existence as a thinking thing. Everything beyond that is questionable and should be. Science relies on skepticism, so don't be too quick to pass it off as such a bad thing.



XenoMind
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 May 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 684
Location: Absurdistan

10 May 2017, 10:18 pm

Just fo clarity... I think that it's denialism, not skepticism.



izzeme
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,665

14 May 2017, 7:45 am

LoveNotHate wrote:
Likely, most scientists end up working for some company that produces some hazardous food, material, or some destruction to the Earth, yet, their job requires them to produce research that concludes, "This product is great".

The scientists at the food companies tell us the additives are OK.
The scientists at the beverage companies tell us aspartame is OK.
The scientists at the mining companies tell that environmental damage is OK.
The scientists at the cigarette companies tell us that cigarettes are OK.
The scientists at the telecommunication companies tell us that electromagnetic radiation is OK.
The scientists at my local nuclear power plant went on tv, and said the low nuclear waste they dump in the water is OK.
The scientists at the gas/oil companies say don't worry about climate change, it's OK.

Whaaaaat? You're skeptical of scientists?


Sure, i'm sceptical of them.
If the scientist of a cigarette company makes a claim about sigarettes, i'll look for some in the employ of a health institution that has made a comment on the same claim, and compare notes.