Mod+ 262. WILL STORR ON THE ENEMIES OF SCIENCE

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by John Maguire, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. John Maguire

    John Maguire New

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  2. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Will Storr is sadly and utterly incorrect about the scientific method (as we know it). It is not much different then any other defined methodology. The things Storr believes that method "solves" are about people not methods and people bring those things to the scientific method as much as they do to any other. In fact, the case can be made that the scientific method reinforces and exacerbates those things.

    Beyond that lies the more fundamental question of whether the things Storr thinks of as flaws are really flaws. To automatically think that they are shows that one already has a set of arbitrary beliefs that one is treating as actualities.

    I
     
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  3. K9!

    K9! New

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  4. The problem is not science, it is some scientists.

    How do we check ourselves?

    I don't think that is so hard. The hard part is being open to the possibility that you are wrong.

    Before you can check yourself you have to want to know the truth whatever it is. This is the biggest obstacle for many people, they don't want to check themselves, they don't want to know if they are wrong.

    For those who do want to find the truth: learn about all sides of the subject. Look not just at statements but also at answers to criticisms. Be especially suspicious of people who resort to ridicule rather than reason. Demand the same high level of proof from critics that they demand from those they criticize. Learn the rhetorical tricks that are used to mislead. Develop your mind - let learning be a life long process.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
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  5. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Another good interview Alex. Thank you.

    I agree with Will's position on the pros and cons of the scientific method, and on maintaining awareness of one's own fallibility, and that of others.

    To answer your teed-up question; I try to maintain the position that on most matters my opinions are best personal guesses based on the available data and so therefore not infallible. I am not privy to the ultimate truth of Reality, and I try never to forget that.
    My opinion is; perception is interpretation, and our fundamental view of the world arises from our soul-level or soul-age, which we bring to the world with us at birth; and we use reason, in so far as we are able, to justify that intuitive perception or interpretation.
    In other words, people do not reach their fundamental view of the world by means of reason, but rather they use reason to justify what they instinctively tend to believe; or what they have been conditioned to believe. For an individual to rise above that default level requires self awareness and insight.
    The scientific method is the best method we have thus far discovered to try to overcome this inherent bias and get at the actual reality. But since the scientific method is employed by inherently biased humans, its progress is necessarily marred and fitful and compromised.
    That is how I view present day mainstream science; deeply hampered and biased by an ideology of crude reductionism and materialism.
    I agree with Will that in future time human science will be more enlightened and inclusive, but it will never be perfect.
     
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  6. Psiclops

    Psiclops Member

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  7. Psiclops

    Psiclops Member

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  8. Alex

    Alex New

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  9. Pepe Silvia

    Pepe Silvia New

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  10. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    That was a strange statement. I don't see a link. It seems to be a variation of this article: http://www.sptimes.com/Floridian/41498/The__quack__hunter.html

    Which makes a lot more sense!
     
  11. Scientists do research in areas where there is funding. You can take any obscure area and make it mainstream in a few years if you would fund research in that area. Many scientists have a materialist naturalist outlook. To some extent this is a reflection of the organizations that fund scientific research i.e. national governments.
     
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  12. DasMurmeltier

    DasMurmeltier New

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    That may be a pretty bad example for this, but you are right - the government is playing a mayor role there. When nazi-germany still existed, the people in charge (Himmler for example) were fanatics of occult stuff and everything that is connected to something like that. No doubts there that research regarding the occult got funded like mad. They were also interested in holy and legendary things like the holy grail. Spent way too much money on that. Point is, if the people in charge are willing to spent the money for it research in that specific area will happen. If it makes sense or not.
     
  13. Alex

    Alex New

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    wow... interesting insights. I think I get what you're saying but pls explain "reinforces and exacerbates"... I'm not disagreeing, just want to understand.
     
  14. Alex

    Alex New

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  15. Alex

    Alex New

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    I've never favored this idea... but I'm defiantly coming around to it.
     
  16. Alex

    Alex New

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    I agree. I think this explains a lot of what we see... of course, that opens up a lot more interesting questions about who sets the agenda/funding.
     
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  17. Psiclops

    Psiclops Member

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    Addressing Alex and Will's point about emotion and anger to persuade others that we are right, I'm sure basically it boils down to insecurity, although we may be loathed to admit it.

    I mean if somebody's argument is totally off the wall - "I have a dinosaur in my garden" - we don't get at all angry or confrontational because we KNOW the guy's wrong and if anything we feel a little sorry for him.

    But if it's something where really there are opposing views I'm sure there's part of us which fears losing the argument and feeling a fool, confidence shattered.

    I'm sure this is true of the angry sceptics also - they're angry because maybe, even sub-conciously, they fear we may be correct about non-local conciousness.

    I've long been accused of being a fence-sitter and it seemed to me that Will is one also - albeit maybe suspecting or even wishing, 'our' side will ultimately be the one which triumphs, maybe not, as he said "in my lifetime".

    I'm not too sure though about Will's equation that having an emotional attachment to a belief or point of view, makes us a must-to-avoid.

    Sure I can get emotional about my stuff, so can Alex and I wonder how emotional the great movers and shakers and pioneers of our world got about their persuasions. I have in mind people like Martin Luther King but I'm sure we can think of many others.
     
  18. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    The general consensus is that the scientific method weeds out those "flaws," so many people employing it often no longer even see the beliefs and personal biases. Why should they? They are proceeding along lines they've been taught constitute a near absolute objectivity.

    To expound a little more - the "scientific method" is viewed almost as some sort of divine procedure so people (except for some of those fools deluded by woo ;) ) no longer question it or see that it rests upon assumptions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
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  19. Psiclops

    Psiclops Member

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    One point where I think Will was wrong was his belief that the anti-gay creationist was born that way and then looked to the Bible to confirm his prejudice.
    More likely surely that he came from the Bible belt and it was the church's anti-gay teachings which created his prejudice?

    Either way it should be pointed out that it's perfectly understandable, for instance, for somebody to be uncomfortable about men kissing, if they haven't ever been exposed to it. Again it's a matter of where one's comfort zone comes from. Possibly some gay men are uncomfortable watching heterosexuals kissing?
     
  20. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    I wasn't quite sure what to make of this interview. Though it piqued my interest early on with the story about the demonologist, later it seemed, at least as a subtext if not overtly stated, that Will was adhering to a materialist worldview, yet Alex addressed him as though this wasn't the case. Perhaps I just got confused, if I'm wrong on this, my apologies.

    As to a couple of other points. The scientific method, as I see it, is just toolkit. Its efficacy depends on, among other things,
    • who uses it
    • what questions are asked
    • what answers are deemed acceptable
    Seemingly absurd ideas such as the multiverse may be proposed simply to avoid having to consider the more obvious but "unacceptable" answers. While if some questions are simply not asked, then of course no answers will be forthcoming.

    Regarding how we change or views (or not). In my experience this can be one of the most painful and difficult things to go through. Will mentioned humility, and there I agree. But how do we reach that level of humility? It can require letting go of everything we think we are, abandoning things we cling to. In my experience at certain points in our lives we may be able to do this, temporarily. What tends to happen is the barriers are dropped briefly, ideas are rearranged, discarded, replaced. Then the barriers come back up again. Maintaining that sense of humility long term can remain a problem.
     
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