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You'd be forgiven for thinking science is under attack. Climate science has been challenged by deniers and sceptics, vaccination rates are falling thanks to anti-vaccination movements, and GM crops are pillaged by anti-GM activists. But what determines why people take these positions?
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-10-left-wrong ... e.html#jCp
Foremost is a person's "worldview", their basic beliefs in how society should be structured and operate. Recent research has shown time and time again that people who endorse extreme free-market economics are prone to reject science with regulatory implications – such as the link between tobacco and lung cancer, or greenhouse gasses and climate change.
On the flip-side are speculations that the anti-GM and anti-vaccination movement are the domain of the political left. Some commentators have even referred to a "liberal war on science", and have claimed that both ends of spectrum have their own selective blindness to evidence.
So, is the rejection of science politically symmetrical? If people on the right reject climate science, do people on the left reject evidence inconvenient to their worldview?
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-10-left-wrong ... e.html#jCp
I read the article, but what exactly is the author trying to say?
It's not a war on science, it's a war on economics, greed, and voodoo science being created and corrupted by greed and economics to produce a 'science of convenience', a discourse, a metanarrative, that is simply biased and skewed towards achieving certain economic interests regardless of the human cost to the 'consumers' of the products.
Ironically, while lumping vaxes and GM together in one discussion, the constant demands for 100% vaccination rates in the community that maim up to 25% of recipients with asthma and allergies and autoimmune disorders, and seriously maim or kill up to 2% of the population so that they can never reproduce, is a kind of eugenics program almost designed to make populations 'Roundup Ready'.
In the meantime, huge chunks of the national bee population are dying due to the spread of nicotinoid pesticides, resulting in crops remaining unfertilised. Then there are better ways of managing soils without putting costly pesticides and fertiliser year after year all over everything, which is slowly killing the organic constituents of the soil, all the life in it we just don't fully understand. What sort of 'science' is this exactly? it's a misplaced belief that if we understand just a little, we can simplify reality and pretend we understand all. We don't. It's a belief in the absolute power of reductionism, and the belief that we have already achieved it. We don't understand the immune system at all well in all its detail, nor do we understand the life in the soil. Further, ordinary crops have been tested for millennia on people, and we have co-evolved with them to at least some extent -- splicing fish genes into tomatoes etc is producing new protein byproducts in the GM foodstuffs and we don't know if they are slowly killing us as there has been no time to conduct longitudinal studies, never mind the problems of testing them safely and ethically.
So what 'science' is this? A science of attrition? A science of abusing the serfs for profit? It's hokum, is what it is.
Does the author of that piece want to talk about how Merck suppressed the dangers of its new Vioxx drug by fudging its results in early phase safety trials, resulting in approximately 60,000 avoidable deaths from heart attack in the US population alone when it was raced to market, with a gullible FDA accepting the results funded by the company? Let's not get on to all the adverse reactions and side effects from a bunch of other drugs on the market. Fluoroquinolones are another good example.
It's a classical inadvertent and ironic representation of the kind of pseudosceptic belief system this site was created to expose, so it is very appropriate to be able to discuss it here. Apart from NP's observation that the sentiment of the article is rather wishy-washy and it's not obvous what it's finally trying to say. It doesn't really say anything, but tries to 'measure' things people believe in social science like 'studies' correlating so-called left-right politics (themselves terms not clearly defined) with belief in conspiracies, etc etc, a pretty pointless and doomed venture.
In my experience the first is unrelated to political views and based more often on personal mishap, or simply reading the accounts of other people's mishaps, and the latter is more of a green movement concern, and nothing to do with the so-called 'extreme right', which still remains undefined as a political concept or grouping. If anything the one thing about people accepting 'conspiracy theories' are the ones less happy to accept authoritarian explanations or accounts, and people who are willing to dig a little deeper and research a little further than most.
So the whole thing is a piece of crap, I might write a more polished academic critique and submit it to the journal, why not. The authors, like so many, kind of miss the point of the realisations of the postmodern movement.
(By the way, 'The Conversation' where this article was first published is an Aussie attempt at an academic discussion site, I've submitted material to it before, colleagues have contributed to it, and it's a mixed bag -- some is good, some is not so good. There are a lot of blinkered academics in the sciences out there.)
Or as the first commenter put it:
Not another whiney science denial article...
Funny how anytime someone mentions a conflict of interest it becomes a "conspiracy theory".
We have pure scientific inquiry and then we have Scientism, which is a philosophical materialist reductionist viewpoint.
This article isn't about science, it's about Scientism. And all of us with a liberal balanced education aren't buying it.
It's simple. To understand why some people hold onto contrary views beyond what would be reasonable it's important to know how they perceive the world works.
Who is to say "contrary views beyond what would be reasonable"? Contrary to whom and exactly what is 'reasonable' when it comes to how the world works? Today's science can't even explain the weather to perfection yet. Is there still not some tweaking that may be required to explain things that we do not know for fact?
Surely you must know when someone is making a reasonable argument and when someone isn't. For example, creationists state the Earth is only 6000-10000 years old. Is that a reasonable thing to state knowing what we know from the geological record? It is reasonable to posit as Winston once did the Earth is hollow? No, it isn't.
Nobody doubts there's weather. Yes, we can explain a lot of why weather does what it does. Yet there are many people, some even here that would argue humans can't affect climate even when there are mountains of hard data clearly pointing we are. Granted there are times when people make an argument that sounds reasonable, but the reason it sounds reasonable is probably do to the listener not being able to pick out the errors of the other person's position.
haha, that's the exact opposite of the likely truth. Postmodernism tells us that the author's view is just a claim to truth, and that he cannot claim 'absolute knowledge' or authority in order to analyse the belief systems of others or attempt to 'understand' why people could think differently from him -- authority figures are sometimes/often/always to be mistrusted, various accounts from various quarters are simply their interpretation of events tempered either by their own prejudices or by a fistful of dollars being waved at them or a reputation to save.
Hence, it is VERY reasonable to question some of the claims to the truth being made by supposed 'scientists' and 'experts' when it turns out they have been corrupted by money, or the need to establish a reputation or keep their lucrative income streams going, etc etc.
The more well read, educated and considered you are about life, the more you would question these supposed 'truths' and understood how easily people are corrupted in their supposed 'factual' accounts of events. Another great example these days is the version of truth you get from an American cop or cops explaining just how someone got shot dead or run over when they were pulled over for a seatbelt infringement, where the police car video tells a different story.
Other examples include JFK and 9/11. I've already listed big pharma and the Cox-2 inhibitors as a well-documented example of how money corrupts 'science'. There are many many more examples out there. There are just too many temptations for people to lie and twist the truth, and that includes in the presentation of 'science' conducted without full scrutiny.
As the first article commenter pointed out on The Conversation, the real story is actually a war between 'Scientism' and genuine scientific method, not between conspiracy theorists and science. It's all about why smart people reject 'Scientism', not science. To attempt to marry it up to an analysis of left-right politics is almost futile, except for other research that claims that 'rightists' are driven by the amygdala and fear, whereas leftists tend to be thoughtful and driven by the neocortex. So you could get some sort of overlapping effect there -- correlation, not causation, and the r2 would be far from perfect.
The issue with modern science is mistrust. The scientific community issues statements like global ice will virtually disappear by 2014 but then we see a huge increase in sea in in 2013. Scientists are quick to put theories out as facts and call anyone critical of these ideas morons, idiots, stupid or everything else. The public understands it doesn't know the details, but this kind of behavior only drives a wedge between those who want answers to good questions and the scientific community.
If the scientific community wants more acceptance they need to work on their presentation... Present a unified front, kill the enemy with kindness, and take the effort to persuade. NEVER resort to name calling and actions like REDDIT just took to ban any climate skeptics. This does not help the SC's relationship with the public. Scientists also need to rein in their theories, improve the peer-review process and take a bit more time to evaluate the criticisms of their work to ensure they haven't made a mistake.
Because the public at large doesn't have the capacity to evaluate every claim we have to rely on instinct and past results. Bad science in the past will set the stage for mistrust in the future.
Critical Thinking and Logic offer the only sure path to truth.
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