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Joined: 6 Feb 2005
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04 Jun 2017, 1:03 am

Ideally I'd like to think that no one would be more skeptical of science than the scientists and peer-reviewers themselves. While I think there are some very well settled areas like physics, chemistry, and at some levels biology, there are also some areas that are in very odd straight right now - like health and nutrition where what people have recommended as a healthy diet seems to change radically every decade or so.

In certain areas I share a lot of people's concerns perhaps at how much science gets pragmatized by corporate funding, how much more in the way of replication experiments should be done but aren't either funded or rewarded enough, and how the unsexiness of null results for a long time meant that someone's paper wouldn't get published. You also have the downright bizarre stuff that gets into some journals, like feminist glaciology and other wonderful postmodernist snickerbait.

I don't think science is necessarily in a bad place, just that unfortunately for a while it's proper growth and fecundity has been retarded by other factors interested in using science but not properly supporting it for its own sake. To that end I really do like seeing how crowd-sourcing is becoming a big phenomena and, if you really have important research but can't find the funding, you can always go on the right talk shows, tell them about your Patreon and Indigogo, and if you make a good enough case you'll have enough private donors support your cause. To that end I think patronage is getting democratized as is science.

Hopefully more of the fields within the broader spectrum of the sciences will find increased maturity in this century and hopefully enough advances will be made to where the number of things that we as a society *have to* agree on as real increase. IMHO there's too much still left up to political parties and politicians as subjects of opinion and debate which aren't properly subjects of debate, whether it's issues of pollution and cleaning it up or whether it's drug enforcement policy. We unfortunately seem to have a pseudo-religious set of structures around a lot of things and whether old vestiges of religion or just conformity a lot of social pegging and taboos seem to just stick for their own sake regardless of the science. That should really be overcome, not pandered to.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privelege of owning yourself" - Rudyard Kipling


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Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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04 Jun 2017, 4:37 am

Being "skeptical of science" is a contradiction in terms.

Science itself is skepticism (the refusal to accept things without evidence).

This thread is miss titled.

It should be simply "antiscience".

Folks who opposed to science are not "skeptics", but the opposite: gullible dogmatists who believe dragons live at the edge of the flat earth.

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Joined: 11 Jan 2013
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08 Jun 2017, 4:42 pm

I notice the opposite issue: many people seem to readily believe sensationalist claims made on the basis of a poorly designed and/or unreplicated study as proof of some amazing breakthrough (especially the "great new autism cure" stuff).

And in recent years a lot of fraud committed by researchers has been uncovered and reported carefully by reputable journals (like Nature). They blew the whistle on widespread peer review scams which had been used to dupe the editorial boards of those journals in the past.