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The 3 Stages of Truth: Is it true? : PseudoSkeptic Fallacies • SCEPCOP Forum








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The 3 Stages of Truth: Is it true?

Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.

The 3 Stages of Truth: Is it true?

Postby NucleicAcid » 04 Apr 2010, 00:00

Hey, you there. Yes, you.

If what I say sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown (Wah wahh woohh wuh waah), then you should try college. It's fun, and only costs you your soul and several tens of thousands of dollars. :)

“I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven“ - Richard Wiseman

Let's make directional hypotheses, test them repeatedly, replicate experiments, and publish results! Yay, science!
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Re: The 3 Stages of Truth: Is it true?

Postby wjbeaty » 10 Apr 2010, 10:45

> But of the earth-shaking things that are proven down the road, did all or most go through this process?

It's a mixture of course!

I've witnessed the "stages of truth" process personally. Sagan famously says
"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it."
No, often that's not how it works, at least in my experience. Instead, the new idea is emotionally attacked and heaped with scorn. But then when it later turns out to be genuine and valuable, its enemies don't say in public "my position is mistaken." Instead they go silent. Admitting their shameful mistake is the last thing they'd ever do. Then some time goes by and you observe them loudly supporting the new idea ...a little *too* loudly. They never apologize to the ones they've attacked, and even remain enemies. Sagan is correct that change is sometimes painful, but I think most of their pain comes from their having very publicly played a part in attempts to derail a valuable new discovery. The white knight who tries to defend science from encroaching contamination ...is suddenly revealed doing real harm to science. Not easy to live down.

---

Every now and then I stumble across a mundane conventional piece of science with an unexpected history of aggressive ridicule and denial. The first two stages of truth are rarely publicized, since they make science look bad. Scanning-tunneling microscopes! Whoda thunk that the inventors of STM needed to fight against a wall of angry ridicule and derision.

"Atom Tinkerer's Paradise" SCIENCE NEWS, October 24, 1998


The Doppler effect for light beams was long the object of ridicule, and Doppler himself didn't live long enough to see it vindicated and become an accepted part of physics. Ohm's law attracted venomous criticism: I've always loved the phrase used to describe it: "A Tissue of Naked Fancy." Both the transistor and the laser were seen as wastes of time by the heads of labs where they were discovered. (The transistor was developed not on a lab bench but on a wheeled cart, where it could be rolled into a closet, in case their boss Shockley came by and noticed they were still working on it after having been forbidden.) Dark Matter was only recently vindicated, even though it was discovered by astronomer F. Zwicky in 1933, and had been actively scorned by the astro community over Zwicky's loud complaints and criticism (see the Dark Matter Rap )

An excellent reference on this sort of thing is a chapter on scientists' responses to new ideas, found in WIB Beveridge's "The Art of Scientific Investigation" Here's a chilling quotation: "Many [valid] discoveries must have been stillborn or smothered at birth. We know only those which survived."

Another is the collection "Hidden Histories of Science" with essays by Stephen J Gould, Oliver Sacks and many others. The authors dig up dirt in their own fields: embarrassing and rarely examined events which make science look bad. (That's something that makes science what it is today. Exposing your flaws for public scorn would be judged traitorous elsewhere. Try doing it in a woo community, or in CSICOP, and the rest of the membership will reject you as an enemy infiltrator.)
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Re: The 3 Stages of Truth: Is it true?

Postby NucleicAcid » 11 Apr 2010, 23:13

Awesome! I checked out your site too, that has a lot of good stuff :)
Hey, you there. Yes, you.

If what I say sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown (Wah wahh woohh wuh waah), then you should try college. It's fun, and only costs you your soul and several tens of thousands of dollars. :)

“I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven“ - Richard Wiseman

Let's make directional hypotheses, test them repeatedly, replicate experiments, and publish results! Yay, science!
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Re: The 3 Stages of Truth: Is it true?

Postby Craig Browning » 13 Apr 2010, 01:33

Yes... I've enjoyed reading through this thread.

I've also found it curious when "science" changes its views... for an example; in the 19th century Phrenology {} was viewed as a Valid aspect of Human Behavioral Science so much so that people couldn't get jobs without meeting certain Phrenological requisites... then again, I've seen the same done with Graphology {} and Astrology in recent times. Nonetheless, Phrenology was going through a period of high praise for a number of years as were other theories tide to the shape of the Human Head/skull. Much of this actually evolved out of the pseudo-anthropologists of the day, who explained "Negro" inferiority based on their skull and skeletal composition. While we know that there is such a thing as the "Nigroid" composition, just as their is a Mongol and Caucasian framework {}, little to none of the data assigned such things reflects one's actual qualifications when it comes to mental or physical ability, it's just a marker for race or "race grouping" and even that was more of a geographic or environmental mode of influence in that we've seen such details evolving out of existence so to speak... but that's another issue entirely. My point centers on how science once supported everything from Racism to personal Superiority simply based on our bones; the bumps and valleys of our head, the cut of our brow, etc.

Ironically, we still do those things today just not in the same formal mode as it was once practiced and certainly not in the more cruel manner it was once manipulated as. But then we've seen the Mental Health field lend credence (be it for a few short years) to the work of Sheldon and his Somatotype theories {} Today's variations range from the psychological advantages of how you dress and which colors are most effective for you (power suits, etc. ) to forgetting how a cigar is nothing other than a cigar... if you get my drift. :roll:

I just find it interesting how little in way of "confession" seems to take shape when science discovers a fubar and has to correct itself.

Unfortunately I'm not thinking real clear this morning... I've got to leave things here :?
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