Predjudice and bias in "Science"
Posted 03 February 2011 - 06:42 AM
Posted 08 February 2011 - 12:12 AM
Generically, a cheerleader is an individual who represents a sports team, and serves to promote a particular image of that team. That image may, or may not, have any factual relationship to the realities of that team.
Furthermore, the cheerleader serves to build a support base for that team. The larger the support base, the less relevant the actual performance of the team becomes; it is not unusual for a team to end up with a huge support base, despite dismal performance.
The actual tools employed by a cheerleader are simple: the endless repetition of a predetermined script, manipulation of the emotional insecurities of the support base, and the endless chanting of mantras.
Neither the script or the mantras need have any relationship to reality; the image and emotional appeal is important, not the team performance.
Similarly, the cheerleader does not need any particular knowledge of the team, the sport, or the realities associated with either its performance or its composition. All that is required is that the cheerleader memorize the rituals, and perform them on demand.
In the more abstract sense, a cheerleader can represent an idea or point of view; ie: an idea or theory can be substituted for a team.
For example, we see a regular parade of cheerleaders perpetuating the myth that “science” has particular properties and characteristics; for example: the myths that science is the search for truth; and scientists are objective, unbiased observers of nature.
In reality, these myths are patent nonsense; as has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history.
Despite this, these myths are perpetuated by the cheerleaders for science as a substitute for argument. But more importantly, the ritual perpetuation of these myths establishes an intellectual atmosphere in which dogmas arise in science; and once arisen, are very difficult to challenge.
This generality applies to the specifics, as manifest by the theories of science. Every theory has its support base; and every theory has its cheerleaders. Many theories are valid and correct; but some are nonsense, and serve only to provide a paycheck for their proponents. Their respective teams of cheerleaders play an important part in ensuring both their perpetuation and their credibility.
In the context of this thread, the “Great Global Warming Fraud” has been used here as an illustration of the fallacy of some of these myths of science; and to illustrate the ease by which a false idea can be promoted by cheerleaders to become firmly entrenched dogma.
If this were just an isolated event, then the damage could be rectified. However, in recent times this has been just one of many very visible manifestations in the general decline in science in our society.
This particular fraud seems to be the tipping point for science; as knowledge of this fraud has become more widely known amongst the general public, a general cynicism and contempt for science in general has developed.
This is illustrated by the jokes denigrating both science and scientists that are now in wide circulation; these kind of jokes were unheard of a year ago.
All of this has importance for Spookology. The opposition to the serious investigation of Spookology and related phenomena is the result of dogmatism within science; and this dogma is perpetuated by cheerleaders.
The fallout from this is that while this dogma is perpetuated, the probability of serious investigation of Spookology and related phenomena is diminished.
Therefore, in the unlikely event a cheerleader presents an informed argument, it should be addressed appropriately. However, in the even more likely event that they simply perform their prescribed rituals and chant their mantras, they should be viewed as nothing more than a bit of light entertainment.
Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:34 AM
In a general philosophical sense, you are absolutely correct. However, in the context of this thread, it would seem that you do not understand either the use of the term or the significance of “cheerleading”.
No, I got your meaning pretty much exactly.
I do not see how anything you said in your post makes it meaningful to indulge in personal attacks.
You have posted your detailed and well-thought out opinion of science, but until some facts are presented it is only that, an opinion. There is really nothing in there to support your opinion. I happen to dissagree with you on some points, while disagreeing with you on others. If you want to convince me on the points where I disagree, do it with facts. More name-calling will not get the job done, sorry.
As an example, you speak of science as though it is one huge single-minded institution. I find that to be incorrect. I find referring to "science" in such a way to be an over-simplification at best, a complete strawman at worst. I see science as a method, not an entity. Its uses are as varied as the people who pursue it. It is a tool, like a knife. Sometimes knives are misused, sometimes not. Can you provide any evidence that supports your idea tht science is a single entity? In other words, can you justify tarring all individual scientists and the scientific method with a single broad brush?
"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha
Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:35 AM
I can agree that there are scientists on both sides of any issue that are biased and will reach desired conclusions. However that does not negate the true scientific method which will include ALL the facts, not just those which support one's agenda. Those who fail to consider all options are not true scientists, in fact they are no better than any other of the cheerleaders mentioned earlier.
As to how to debate these cheerleaders, it is not by name calling, rather where certain facts have been ignored these facts should be pointed out to them. When these facts are revealed it will be up to the pther party to provide a reason why they chose to disregard them. Of course should such a reason be proven then it may indeed fall to the one claiming the omission to admit their error. But failure to prove a reason for disregard of certain evidence will of couse be the proof required to call into question the original claims and require that the evidence be included in any final conclusion.
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Posted 09 February 2011 - 07:44 PM
Human behavior is characterized by its predisposition to follow identifiable patterns. Some patterns are so common that in Behavioral Science they are referred to by name.
Similarly, in the arena of debate and argument, there are numerous recognized patterns of argument, and their corresponding responses. These are referred to as the strategies and tactics of debate. The speed at which a debater recognizes their opponent’s debating pattern, and implements the corresponding counter pattern, is a measure of their skill as a debater.
Those that fail to recognize their opponent’s patterns, and fail to apply the appropriate counter, invariably lose the debate.
So in any debate, the first step is to identify the tactical pattern; the second is to implement the counter tactic.
In the context of our discussions around Spookology, the proponents for “science” invariably present well established, identifiable and predictable patterns of argument. Hence my identification of these patterns as cheerleading.
Should you wish to learn more about this, I suggest you refer to any of the standard text books on debating. Any one of the texts should have at least one chapter on the pattern I have referred to as “cheerleading”.
2. You are correct that I have expressed my opinion on the current declining state of “science”. However, my opinion is derived from both personal observation, and the widely expressed opinions of many other scientists and observers.
Should you wish to learn more about this, you could start with the speech presented by Richard Feynman, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. It is reproduced here:
You can read more about the continuing malaise in science here; particularly, you should read the embedded links in that article:
3. You seem to be attributing to me some kind of broad brush confusion regarding “the scientific method” and “science”. I do not see how any of my comments could be seen to lead to that interpretation.
The “scientific method” is exactly that; it is an idealized prescription for a method for the pursuit of knowledge. “Science” is the encapsulation of empirical data and the subsequent interpretation of that data.
Clearly, in real life there is a broad spectrum in the way the method is applied; similarly, there is a wide range in the way empirical data is processed, interpreted and presented. Were this not the case, we would not be having this discussion.
The whole “Global Warming Fraud” is an illustration of this fact. The fraud has been perpetrated by one group of scientists who manipulated and misrepresented empirical data; their fraud was then exposed by other scientists who reviewed the same data and exposed the fraudulent manipulations.
However, a very significance point in this scandal is the fact that the issue has become politicised, and the fraudsters are being held as heroes. In contrast, their adversaries are being held as villains.
This politicization of science is completely contrary to the idealized view of science; but is unfortunately all too commonplace today.
Posted 16 June 2011 - 11:57 PM
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