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Is There an Anti-Science Conspiracy?
Yes, Fnord; and they're all out to get you, too! 18%  18%  [ 11 ]
Yes, but it is informal and not organized. 32%  32%  [ 19 ]
Maybe, Maybe not. WP is not the Royal Academy of Science. 2%  2%  [ 1 ]
No, people just don't like being told what to think. 30%  30%  [ 18 ]
No, everybody loves science and wants to be scientists! 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
On Planet-X, you can earn a PhD in Ice Cream Science. 8%  8%  [ 5 ]
Other: ________________ (please Elaborate Below). 7%  7%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 60

Fnord
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15 Apr 2013, 3:04 pm

There seems to be a subtle, yet pervasive "movement" to commit largely ideological attacks on the teaching of science and the usage of scientific principles. This seems particularly true when there is conflict with political or religious pseudo-scientific positions, such as evolution, global warming, medical treatments, and any other science that may conflict with any given religious or political ideology.

The anti-science position generally holds that in cases where science and ideology come into conflict, it is science that must be flawed, and not the ideology. Anti-science is often manifested in:

  • Attempts to discredit the scientists themselves. Examples are accusations of Galileo being a heretic, the Lenski affair and suggestions that Richard Dawkins is not a "real" scientist.
  • Attempts to discredit the scientific method. This is frequently done by maintaining that scientific objectivity is subject to some kind of pro-science bias.
  • Outright denial. Examples are germ theory denialism and HIV denial.
  • The replacement of real science with pseudosciences like Intelligent Design.
  • The replacement of scientific ideas with conspiracy theories. A good example of this would be conspiracy theory known as "Chemtrails" replacing the science of petroleum combustion and condensation of water vapour.
I must point out that while it is obvious that WrongPlanet is not exactly the Royal Academy of Science, is should be equally obvious that there is a large number of science-minded members of WP, and that they have every right and reason to express concern when ignorance and deception are the direct and proximal causes of much of the misconception and self-deception prevalent in some posts and threads



SuSaNnA
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15 Apr 2013, 3:41 pm

I feel it too.

I think about the following possibilities that might made people anti-science:

1. Scientists/ science report often suggest statistics/ data that people don't like.

2. There is, actually, many incidences where politicians/ companies bribe scientists to generate false data. Such as cow's milk being healthy for human consumption-- in reality, as suggested by Pr. Campbell, the body uses up more calcium in order to neutralize the body pH for intaking so much protein from the regular consumption of cow's milk.
This is also very very common issue for animal rights, because many industries are bribing scientists to say that some animals don't have pain receptors. Whilst reality is that, they usually have another system compared to humans-- as in, they still feel pain.

3. Medical issues. there are still many diseases that cannot be cured. Medicine for chronic diseases usually have very serious side effects in which people think that their lives are being ruined.
Especially with SSRI's.
Some Scottish people are starting to find traditional herbs more useful than newly developed drugs.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has never been abandoned by the Japanese at all. Chinese people are starting to pay more attention to TCM too.

4. Usual religious matter.



donothing1979
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15 Apr 2013, 5:32 pm

I don't know if "conspiracy" should be the word we use to describe the wholesale ignorance that's being pushed and lauded by most of the human race today. "Conspiracy" is a really touchy word.

have you read the books on the subject? on the Left, we have Chris Mooney... on the Libertarian side, we have Hank Cambell and Alex Berzow, and then we have Jon Haidt somewhere in the Middle. there's others, but those are the big three in the discussion now.

also, Rationally Speaking's Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef talk to Mooney about his hypothesis in this episode:
Rationally Speaking - Chris Mooney

i actually wanted to do an analysis of this idea in my medium, but i don't have the time or money. also, i'm just a "layman" that isn't technically in "science", so i doubt that any analysis i could perform would be taken seriously.


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TheValk
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15 Apr 2013, 5:45 pm

On this forum the sentiment is rather weak and is usually last resort for defence. But of course everyone has to feel they are in the (right) minority with their views.



donothing1979
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15 Apr 2013, 5:49 pm

TheValk wrote:
On this forum the sentiment is rather weak and is usually last resort for defence. But of course everyone has to feel they are in the (right) minority with their views.


that's why i don't know that "conspiracy" is the right word to use to effectively discuss the topic.


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lostonearth35
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15 Apr 2013, 5:55 pm

THAT'S IT!! ! I CAN'T STAND IT ANY MORE!! ! :wall: ALL the food-diet-animal-rights-nazis telling me I can't touch real milk and that I have to drink disgusting fake milk from fake cows and eat tofurkey crap at Thanksgiving, and that orange juice and bananas, which used to be good for me, will now make me FAT!! !
I DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE IT'S A CARDINAL SIN TO EAT REAL FOOD, AND BY REAL FOOD I MEAN FOOD WITH REAL MILK AND REAL SUGAR AND REAL CHEESE INSTEAD OF CANCER-CAUSING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER AND HIPPIE SOY CRAP MMMMM BEAN CURD YEAH THAT SOUNDS SCRUMPTIOUS PUKE BARF VOMIT CHUNKS OF SPEW!! !! I DON'T DRINK OR SMOKE I AM SO FED UP WITH THE ENTIRE PLANET TELLING ME I WILL DIE AN EARLY DEATH BECAUSE OF WHAT I EAT AND WHEN I'M 150 YEARS OLD AND THE NEWS REPORTERS WANT TO KNOW MY SECRET I WILL TELL THEM BECAUSE I EAT BACON DOUBLE CHEESEBURGERS AND FRIES AND CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES AND DONUTS ALL WEEK LONG HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!! !! ! :twisted:



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15 Apr 2013, 6:57 pm

Curry is way more delish any day. Or palak... or pav bhaji... or pulao... /runs to the kitchen



Tsunami
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15 Apr 2013, 8:38 pm

It's more than just anti-science, it's anti-intellectualism. They treat any accumulation of knowledge as if it is a bad thing. People are denying history and geography and medicine and anything else that doesn't suit their world view. But they have no choice really, because their beliefs are clearly lacking in evidence if you take an objective analytical view.

Off topic, I believe the science that says milk is healthy. No matter who funds the studies, scientific publications are peer reviewed and if they were clearly wrong someone would get famous by proving so. Maybe I'm naive and there really is a government conspiracy to kill us with dairy products, but the evidence doesn't show that and it seems to me that Susanna has committed at least 4 of the 5 points made in the OP. There's no reason for such bribery and falsification to take place, even if they said it was unhealthy I don't think many Americans would listen.



donothing1979
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15 Apr 2013, 9:48 pm

kouzoku wrote:
Curry is way more delish any day. Or palak... or pav bhaji... or pulao... /runs to the kitchen


oh man. i had some Pakoras and Lamb Achar and Panneer Roti on saturday... hum... now i must go and get Indian food again.


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kabouter
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15 Apr 2013, 10:01 pm

The problem seems to be worse in the USA, as you have the christian fundamentalists trying (and succeeding) in determining what can be taught as science. Also where else in the world could you have governments defining the the value of PI is 3.

There has also been a worldwide effort to get teenagers to remain at school longer as it will lower the unemployment figures. This means standards have to be lowered, and more "mickey mouse" subjects need to be offered.

The "Greed is Good" feeling that has been around for the last 30 years seems to have seduced more people into the areas such as stock broking, real estate, banking. etc rather actually producing something.

Lastly teaching and academia are no longer seen as high status and well paid jobs. Good teachers are very important as they also inspire their students into further study.



donothing1979
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15 Apr 2013, 10:31 pm

Tsunami wrote:
It's more than just anti-science, it's anti-intellectualism. They treat any accumulation of knowledge as if it is a bad thing. People are denying history and geography and medicine and anything else that doesn't suit their world view. But they have no choice really, because their beliefs are clearly lacking in evidence if you take an objective analytical view.

Off topic, I believe the science that says milk is healthy. No matter who funds the studies, scientific publications are peer reviewed and if they were clearly wrong someone would get famous by proving so. Maybe I'm naive and there really is a government conspiracy to kill us with dairy products, but the evidence doesn't show that and it seems to me that Susanna has committed at least 4 of the 5 points made in the OP. There's no reason for such bribery and falsification to take place, even if they said it was unhealthy I don't think many Americans would listen.


man i have been talking about this subject all day... where was this thread late last year when i was on a tear about it?

anyway, it is a sort of anti-intellectualism, but in my opinion, the term "intellectual" has negative connotations to it for most people, so i am way more willing to say that it's an anti-science attitude... in the broader meaning of "science" as "knowledge".

there's a philosophical problem in what you said about there being an "objective" view, and even though scientists are very good at applying rationality to their duties, they often do allow their biases and personal beliefs color their findings. scientists are human, and it's very difficult as a creature of emotion to constantly divorce yourself from having bias. scientists should be held accountable for that, and proper steps should be taken to achieve and report findings in the most compleat and sober manner as possible.

people definitely have a clash of worldviews that a scientific theory, or even a study, can bring on in full force. you're right about that. one of the things that i hear a lot of people say is that "science doesn't know everything" or something of that sort... that really chafes me when i hear it.

a few days ago, i was on a bus ride home from school, and i heard a guy and a girl talking a few seats away from me. they were talking about the astronomy class they were in, and how the teacher is so closed minded because he doesn't agree with them about how astrology is a real thing. i really didn't want to listen to them, as i was quite engaged in the book i was reading, but my attention split, and fixated on the conversation as i heard the guy say: "i hate it when professors talk about how astrology or whatever isn't real because it's not science... of course it's real! it's real to me! i know what's real... i feel the energies and it's real to me. just because some scientist says that it's not real doesn't mean that it's fake. scientists make up sh*t all the time and say 'you have to believe me, it's science' and that's bullsh*t".

... i really had a hard time not allowing myself to get angry at them both. but what he was saying is something like "well, scientists tell me that humans can't fly under their own power because of biology and physics... i don't believe them... i feel like i can fly; so i can fly. i don't need proper biology or physics to fly, and i can fly." i think this is a kind of "choose-your-own-science-adventure" thinking and it is really damaging, and the longer it is let go, the worse it gets. people don't get to choose what laws the universe uses.


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15 Apr 2013, 10:37 pm

I think that the reason is really rather simple. The vast majority of the public has no knowledge or understanding of actual science, and a lot of science directly conflicts with their preconceived notions of how things should be, so they look for any possible excuse to disprove it. The one that really gets me the most is how global warming has been turned into a political, rather than scientific, debate. I had a good friend who was extremely intelligent, one of the smartest people I know, but he was an adamant conservative and denier of global warming. Any time I'd confront him with the actual data or numbers, he'd counter it with fishy data from an underground or non-peer reviewed study, or comments that some rogue scientist gave in an interview years ago. The fact that over 95% of scientists are in agreement on the topic, as well as the vast majority of scientific literature, did little to phase him from being convinced that the other 5% were clearly right.

When it comes to religious issues it's much more understandable as to why people would be skeptical. However personally, I have never had any sort of conflict with regards to my faith and science. In fact, I would say that science serves to strengthen my faith. After all, when the Bible was written all those years ago, how do you think the public would have reacted if it said that we came from apes and dinosaurs used to roam the Earth? I mean, you could be killed for suggesting that the Earth was round back then...imagine those ideas!

I think that the best way to combat the growing disdain of science is to improve the science and technical education in our schools. Right now in public schools it's downright atrocious, and I think that a large part of the problem stems from that.



donothing1979
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16 Apr 2013, 12:03 am

yes, education does have a lot to do with this, but there's issues of trust, too. people just don't "trust" science and it's child, technology, for a multitude of reasons in the past and present: energy via nuclear fission, anthropometry, GM/GE/Biotechnology, etc... it goes back to that uneducated outlook that because science and technology have been lead to some horrific misapplications, that it is all bad, and therefore should not be trusted. if there was better education in the world today, we would be way less misguided. this is a political issue now, at this point.


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OddDuckNash99
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16 Apr 2013, 8:01 am

I'm interested in the Ph.D in Ice Cream Science. Do people do their dissertation on different flavors? Is there a Neapolitan Ph.D? A Rocky Road one? A Butter Pecan one?


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Tsunami
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16 Apr 2013, 8:15 am

donothing1979 wrote:
a few days ago, i was on a bus ride home from school, and i heard a guy and a girl talking a few seats away from me. they were talking about the astronomy class they were in, and how the teacher is so closed minded because he doesn't agree with them about how astrology is a real thing. i really didn't want to listen to them, as i was quite engaged in the book i was reading, but my attention split, and fixated on the conversation as i heard the guy say: "i hate it when professors talk about how astrology or whatever isn't real because it's not science... of course it's real! it's real to me! i know what's real... i feel the energies and it's real to me. just because some scientist says that it's not real doesn't mean that it's fake. scientists make up sh*t all the time and say 'you have to believe me, it's science' and that's bullsh*t".

... i really had a hard time not allowing myself to get angry at them both. but what he was saying is something like "well, scientists tell me that humans can't fly under their own power because of biology and physics... i don't believe them... i feel like i can fly; so i can fly. i don't need proper biology or physics to fly, and i can fly." i think this is a kind of "choose-your-own-science-adventure" thinking and it is really damaging, and the longer it is let go, the worse it gets. people don't get to choose what laws the universe uses.


I'm not arrogant enough to think that science has all the answers. Perhaps some people do feel things that I cannot. The problem is that when you ask them to prove it they are unable. I think in the case of your astrologer it may be harmless to let them believe, because the alternative is to question your own sanity, and that is painful. I guess I feel sorry for them either way.

But not sorry enough to let them make decisions that affect the rest of us.



donothing1979
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16 Apr 2013, 8:56 am

Tsunami wrote:

I'm not arrogant enough to think that science has all the answers. Perhaps some people do feel things that I cannot. The problem is that when you ask them to prove it they are unable. I think in the case of your astrologer it may be harmless to let them believe, because the alternative is to question your own sanity, and that is painful. I guess I feel sorry for them either way.

But not sorry enough to let them make decisions that affect the rest of us.


"arrogant enough to think that science has all the answers"... but science doesn't have all the answers: that's why we are still using science to look for the answers we don't know yet! and actually, in the case of scientific knowledge, it is okay to say "we don't know". pseudoscience is the one that claims answers where there is nothing.

it has nothing to do with arrogance, and all to do with evidence. in my opinion, it is not harmless to let them believe, because they are helping spread misinformation to other gulls like themselves. such is also the case with religion, but then when it comes down to religious and other categories of other "ancient" beliefs, you get into all sorts of ethical trouble, but i'm not going to write about that now.

my point is that it is not arrogant to believe that scientific modes are a better system to understanding the universe around us, it is arrogant to claim exactly the opposite and say that "science doesn't know therefore it's useless".

yes, it is painful to come to terms with something that totally changes your worldview. some people have an easy time with it, and a hungry for new info... others get psychologically battered by it. but is it right to keep people in the dark if you think that they are too fragile to have their views challenged?


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