new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic

Science vs. "science" - and "engineering" too  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22166
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just spent half an hour looking for a meme where it was a pile of shit and somebody stuck a little sign in it that said "science!" Oh well.


When trying to convince an audience to a certain idea, a lot of people have learned a technique called "lying". It is amazing how well it works, as long as you tell your lies correctly. After all, most people aren't going to go check the data.

A lot of people find that their lies have a lot more punch if they say it is "science" or "scientifically proven." The funny thing about this approach is that it is extra powerful. After all, the only way to refute it is with more science. This usually requires looking at the research paper in question, examining the data set and how the conclusions were drawn. Most people aren't going to take the time to do that.

So when you tell lies, try to work the "science" word in as much as you can - because people are then less likely to refute your word.


Of course .... this has now been done so much that "science" is now almost synonymous with "lies". And it is isn't even the cheap charlatans and trolls doing this. We already doubt research that is paid for by less-than-scrupulous-entities. Did they only hire researchers that favored their product? Did they hire 20 researchers and fire the 19 that would not generate the desired conclusions? Did they hire 20 research teams and shut down 19 when the conclusions were inconvenient?

The idea used to be that we had peer reviewed journals. But a lot of people in the core sciences are desperate for a job. And their job is to review only when they have permission to review. And if they don't do as they're told, they could lose their job. This isn't the case 100% of the time, but it is the case most of the time. And, of course, it is actually about 10,000 times more complicated than this - but you get the idea.

- - - -

Over the last year I have heard "I'm an engineer" used as a trump card for discussion of interesting topics. And I have to say that universally, each of those times, that trump card did a face plant. If you are really an engineer, you don't have to say it - you can make your point without a cheap attempt at this trump card.

And now we get to the real nitty gritty of why I need to write this today.

I worked as an engineer for decades. And I have to say that 95% of the engineers I have met are incompetent. They have no real idea of what the hell they are doing. The only reason they have a job is that there is such a desperate need for engineers - and the people hiring are often not competent either.

And in my work, I worked with a lot of scientists too. Same thing.

I am really worried that this problem is not limited to these two professions.

More than half of the books published in science and engineering are utter crap. And yet, because they are published, people think they are true. Ug.

In the field of engineering, incompetence was usually masked over with bravado. People would talk big and be pushy .... and it is amazing how often people would mistake that for competence. I would get hired for far too much money when a company was in a pickle. And then I would find a person forcing their incompetence through to the rest of the group through their bravado. The rest of the group generally didn't give a shit - they got paid the same whether they went along with it, or stood up to the asshole. Why take on the extra stress?

So I would show up to fix things. And then Bravado-Boy (or girl) would then need to publicly take me on to set the proper pecking order. This is how I know that I am a sick and twisted fuck: I found pleasure in letting them methodically dig their own grave. I would, in time, optimize my approach to let their selected audience watch this person implode with the fewest words possible from me. Oh sure, I am glad to do my work without this pecking-order exercise .... but if we need to do this, I can play this game too. I am a bad person.

But, I'm digressing. It's lots of fun to travel memory lane and remember the times that dumbfucks just needed to stand in front of their peers and utterly prove how dumb they truly are. But this thread is about the words "science" and "engineering".

- - - -

So one party throws out that they are right because, you know, "science" and then the other party has the tried and true defense: "REAL science!" And the discussion just goes freaky stupid from there. When the "engineering" card is played, the defense phrase is "GOOD engineering."

Much like the world of art, a scientist will point to another and say "fraud" .... and vice versa. In fact, a lot of actually good scientists will point to hundreds of other scientists and call them frauds - and nearly universally each of them will point back to say "fraud." When a shitty scientist points to other scientists and says "fraud" those scientists say "who the fuck are you?"

- - - -

So here is the REAL point to all of this.

If two people disagree on a topic and are each trying to persuade the other of their position (this might even be called "debate") then the first person that claims that they are correct because science is on their side has lost.

Here are my reasons:

1) If a person has a strong argument, then the position will stand on it's own merits. Citing research is fine (which supports your position, but does not prove it). But the declaration of "science" shows that all of the previous points did not hold water and this is a last, desperate gasp.

2) Once a person says "I am right because science supports me and not you." Then the other party can automatically say "I am right because REAL science supports me and not you." (the same applies with "engineering" followed by "good engineering") Therefore, this sort of statement NEVER stands up to peer review of actual scientists, and can only stand to peer review of other dumbfucks. In other words, much like a jedi mind trick, this DOES totally work on the weak minded. At the same time, only the weak minded will use it.

And this is the same for "I am right because I am a scientist." or "I am right because I am an engineer." (ad verecundiam)


Therefore:


The first person to support their position with the generic word "science" (or "engineering") loses.



 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6676
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
People regularly try to sell me on various forms of medical malarkey. I never ask for proof. Instead, I Google The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet or Quackwatch. I do it in front of them and announce my intent to give the words of actual doctors, far more weight than that of Drs. Pepper or Seuss. The only information that I ever ask of someone who is sold on a particular treatment, is for the names of prominent medical people who support the idea and who do not stand to gain financially from it.
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2044
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
174
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, kinda like Godwin's Law but not for politics.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22166
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Julia Winter wrote:So, kinda like Godwin's Law but not for politics.


I thought that Godwin's law was "first person to say 'hitler' loses." But today I looked it up so I could quote it exactly. It turns out to be something about how all political discussion will eventually mention hitler.
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
13
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds like Hanlon's razor might apply to some of those engineers - "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
 
Zach Muller
gardener
Posts: 778
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
36
bike books chicken dog forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think this is true, I think it could be related that science and engineering seem rather cut and dried from some perspectives but once you dig into them they are pretty flexible and are made up of human efforts. It's important to keep in mind that scientists and engineers haven't always been right, in fact they have made some of the biggest mistakes of anyone, so to assume they are completly right now seems a little silly. Many of them do not agree with one another, so it's not like there's a unified "science" when it comes to new research and info.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 375
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
11
duck food preservation solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's an easier argument if the "science" is straightforward and universally accepted (even if only understood by a small percent of the population). I have often claimed that an opinion is not my own but that of "physics" and have almost always been quickly accepted, as people who strongly argue such things don't want someone teaching them physics to prove the point. ...and it really was clear physics!

When science becomes interpreted statistics...well then it's bound to be filled with lies...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think you can find individuals who will reject certain aspects of science, even robust and generally accepted sciences such as physics/engineering and ecology/soil science, if it doesn't fit their worldview. Not much point in trying to debate someone's worldview, in my opinion. In these cases, demonstrated personal examples (preferably with photo documentation) can be more persuasive. Such as "I made this machine and it works, see!" or "I implemented these aspects of ecology into my garden and it works, see!"



 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 383
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
3
forest garden greening the desert trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's tempting to respond to unsubstantiated scientific claims with an opposing view but often everyone learns more by asking how the person's "science backed" viewpoint is arrived back. What data did they start with and how was it interpreted to arrive at the viewpoint?

If this turns into an interesting discussion full of facts, data and an enthusiastic scientist talking endlessly about his passion then he's probably teaching you something.

If it quickly turns into name calling, exasperation and "the data is confidential" or "because the govt/the consensus says so" then that's when you suspect "real" science is not involved and move on to a more useful conversation with someone else.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And if they say it is "settled science" then it is a bold faced lie!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Exactly, there's no such thing as "settled science"! The nature of science is to always be learning new things, to be testing theories. Both people who "believe" in science (Sciencists) and people who totally don't understand and reject science, get this wrong.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale Hodgins wrote: far more weight than that of Drs. Pepper or Seuss.


Dale, I can't let this stand, you trashing the good names of two of my favorite doctors of all time.

Things DO get settled in science. We know that cyanide is poisonous, we know that some plants produce cyanide containing compounds, if someone engineers a new variety of the plant with the cyanide genes turned off, then a plant that was settled as poisonous now becomes edible. The longer it's been around and been tested, the more settled it is.

Science is part of the process of learning. And considering how ignorant and dumb humans started out, there is a lot of learning left to go. More science (and engineering) is necessary to continue the learning process and the most dangerous folks out there are the ones that ignore new facts, observations, experiments, because it conflicts with some pet idea of theirs.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Many plants containing cyanide are edible. Many statements of "settled science" still need to be qualified, and folks who use the phrase "the science is settled" generally aren't interested on qualifying their statements; scientists rarely make unqualified pronouncements, in my experience.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And even when the results are "settled" the how and why can change dramatically.
 
Rick English
pollinator
Posts: 261
Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
36
books dog forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think many of us would agree that nearly all unqualified statements are untrue, but it seems as though science and/or engineering are often used to make many unqualified statements seem to be true to the unenlightened massed. Some would argue this creates control or power.

I am not sure this is limited to science and engineering, but can be more broadly applied to nearly every self-proclaimed"expert." It seems to be that any self-title "expert" is not. Speaking in an informed manner on a topic marks a true expert to me.

I consider myself a goat and not a sheep. I try to question everything, and never blindly follow, because I like to think for myself. I think many/most people don't like to think for themselves, or are incapable of it. The sheep-type people are even more susceptible to the "experts."
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1659
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was just given a book "How to Win Every Argument - the use and abuse of logic". Pretty much all the comments above fall into classic categories of logical fallacies. I'm only on chapter one, but flicking through the chapter headings we have:

"Blinding With Science"
"Appeal to Authority"
etc...

Logical fallacies have been studied since the ancient greeks. If you learn about them you can spot them being used against you, recognise weaknesses in arguments and - if you are unscrupulous - consciously use them to manipulate people to your way of thinking. Once you open your mind to these you start seeing them more and more, and at the same time become less vulnerable to their effects. Think about it a vaccination against manipulation by others if you like.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Loads of criminals make claims about how they popped a dirty U/A. I'd say that is an acceptable point to claim science disagrees. Science is not always gray. Some subjects have been studied so thoroughly that there is no room to dispute them, no matter how many attempts at convincing argument and experience are claimed.

I suppose the scientific subjects I have become familiar with, through my work and my husbands, have me seeing the world of science a bit differently. Well studied, these subjects are. Saying you can't say "science" at all or you lose, that is too broad, imo.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm disagreeing to say: Saying "science disagrees" gets one nowhere with an argument. Showing how the science disagrees can be helpful, with references. Even though we're not allowed to demand citations on permies doesn't mean, in my opinion, that we shouldn't post citations every chance we get. I think citations (supporting documents) can help readers learn much more than simply being told "science disagrees." In any case, to me, science is a method, so it can't really agree or disagree with anything. It can only support certain positions, or not support them, with evidence - what some people like to call "fact" but I don't think we're allowed to use that term here on permies.

 
Zach Muller
gardener
Posts: 778
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
36
bike books chicken dog forest garden urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
elle sagenev wrote: Loads of criminals make claims about how they popped a dirty U/A. I'd say that is an acceptable point to claim science disagrees. Science is not always gray. Some subjects have been studied so thoroughly that there is no room to dispute them, no matter how many attempts at convincing argument and experience are claimed.

I suppose the scientific subjects I have become familiar with, through my work and my husbands, have me seeing the world of science a bit differently. Well studied, these subjects are. Saying you can't say "science" at all or you lose, that is too broad, imo.



Im not sure if you mean things like the laws of thermodynamics, or things like energy generation through processes. People usually believe something is totally impossible until it is showed to be possible. So it may be studied by thousands of people for 100 years, but then one person thinks of a new way to do it and the topic is changed forever.
Just as we have a working model of physics, but we dont have a unified theory, so it isnt like we have arrived at " the complete right" answer. We just know a lot of stuff and that stuff works a certain way.

So on one hand if someone is claiming in an argument that the laws of physics are somehow not really going to apply, we can be relatively sure that they will fail to demonstrate their claims. The body of science has showed that the laws of physics do apply.
But on the other hand, someone might claim in an argument that they can use the laws of physics to accomplish something no one ever has before. Since it hasn't happened before people will point to the current scientific efforts and say, " look science shows it cant happen". But as with all innovations, something new does happen, and the new evidence has to be integrated into the old evidence.

Until we do have a unified theory there will be no settled science in my opinion, how would that work? It cant be settled up here in the macro scale, but at the nano scale we are still smashing particles wondering what the nature of the universe really is. Thats not settled, its unknown at a very essential level. Until we know of every exception that exists in the universe, we will really only know the little bit we do know, and that is only my opinion, humans know very little even though it took us a looong time to get it and sometimes it seems vast. If we knew a lot, then we wouldn't constantly screw everything up. Also just my opinion.

It should be considered that the term science is broad and defines different things sometimes. Sometimes "science" is really just a survey some people filled out and the information was interpreted and codified into a " scientific finding" but sometimes "science" is referring to something like the ideal gas law. Two very different meanings.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Zach Muller wrote:
elle sagenev wrote: Loads of criminals make claims about how they popped a dirty U/A. I'd say that is an acceptable point to claim science disagrees. Science is not always gray. Some subjects have been studied so thoroughly that there is no room to dispute them, no matter how many attempts at convincing argument and experience are claimed.

I suppose the scientific subjects I have become familiar with, through my work and my husbands, have me seeing the world of science a bit differently. Well studied, these subjects are. Saying you can't say "science" at all or you lose, that is too broad, imo.



Im not sure if you mean things like the laws of thermodynamics, or things like energy generation through processes. People usually believe something is totally impossible until it is showed to be possible. So it may be studied by thousands of people for 100 years, but then one person thinks of a new way to do it and the topic is changed forever.
Just as we have a working model of physics, but we dont have a unified theory, so it isnt like we have arrived at " the complete right" answer. We just know a lot of stuff and that stuff works a certain way.

So on one hand if someone is claiming in an argument that the laws of physics are somehow not really going to apply, we can be relatively sure that they will fail to demonstrate their claims. The body of science has showed that the laws of physics do apply.
But on the other hand, someone might claim in an argument that they can use the laws of physics to accomplish something no one ever has before. Since it hasn't happened before people will point to the current scientific efforts and say, " look science shows it cant happen". But as with all innovations, something new does happen, and the new evidence has to be integrated into the old evidence.

Until we do have a unified theory there will be no settled science in my opinion, how would that work? It cant be settled up here in the macro scale, but at the nano scale we are still smashing particles wondering what the nature of the universe really is. Thats not settled, its unknown at a very essential level. Until we know of every exception that exists in the universe, we will really only know the little bit we do know, and that is only my opinion, humans know very little even though it took us a looong time to get it and sometimes it seems vast. If we knew a lot, then we wouldn't constantly screw everything up. Also just my opinion.

It should be considered that the term science is broad and defines different things sometimes. Sometimes "science" is really just a survey some people filled out and the information was interpreted and codified into a " scientific finding" but sometimes "science" is referring to something the ideal gas law. Two very different meanings.


It's more things like, "I drank this much but I'm not drunk and am totally fine to drive", or "I was just panicked when I got pulled over and opened this bottle and drank ___ amount and that's why I failed the sobriety test". "This supplement can cause false positives in drug testing because of X". "This can't be possible because of x, y, z." "I didn't smoke any pot I was just in a room with someone who was", etc. Beliefs very popular in the drug culture but things that have all been studied the heck out of. A lot of people believe these things to be absolute fact because of their experiences or that of someone else. That the science behind the analysis or the levels can be wrong because.... For the most part it is not wrong and to counter the argument with "science disagrees" is simply true.

So I agree with you that science is a very broad field. It covers many things. So to say that using any science in an argument makes an argument weak is, in my opinion, incorrect.

However, in the vaccine debate a lot of science is thrown about and a lot of the science is conflicting to say the least. So there are areas where science seems more like an opinion than actual science. There's a lot of room in the field for variation.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
40
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Science says" is rather precisely equivalent to "the book says". Without being specific, what science exactly, which book exactly, the statement following the phrase has little to no meaning.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22166
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Destiny Hagest
gardener
Posts: 1295
Location: Little Belt Mountains, MT
212
chicken dog hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This seems applicable here
paul-wheaton-horse-potatoes.jpg
[Thumbnail for paul-wheaton-horse-potatoes.jpg]
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22166
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In another forum, somebody pointed out that the stuff about using DE to combat parasites in livestock has "never been proven scientifically".   Here is my response:

Well ... this is awkward ...

First, all the stuff that has been proven (with our without a bright red sticker that says "SCIENCE!") is mighty large. I wouldn't be surprised to find there are a few hundred white papers proving almost anything. And the same number proving that the first batch ain't so.

As time passes, we find that a lot stuff that was "proven" was doctored. Thus making this awkward-ness awkward-er.

One day I was hauling a load of manure on a new trailer and a pretty new wheel with a pretty new tire passed me. I knew it was mine. We had been stopping about every ten minutes to tighten the lug nuts.

I stopped in case any more wheels wanted to make a solo venture. As I was retrieving my wayward wheel, my 80-year-old neighbor Tom came out to see what was up. Tom told me that I shouldn't use aluminum wheels on a trailer. Don't know why, but aluminum wheels just don't like staying on a trailer.

A week later I had all steel wheels - which never gave me a lick of trouble.

The point to all this is: is there "scientific proof" out there, somewhere, about aluminum wheels on trailers?

I once read of somebody doing fecal parasite counts and feeding their critters DE. They said DE works at eliminating parasites. And there are dozens of other folks that seem mighty certain of the same thing.

This is part of science: it is anecdotal evidence. When we get enough of it, and somebody gets the idea of doing some serious studies, they might prove or disprove .... and even then, their results could be questionable.

I think .... and I am just one giant doofus, so it really doesn't matter what I think .... I think there could be some truth in these claims. And it might take science a few decades to come up with their first thoughts, and a few centuries to clear up whether those first studies were true or not. In the meantime, we each read the debate and make our own decisions.

Frankly, I think DE is amazing stuff and should be kept in every building on the homestead. Which is why i wrote the article.


the same person then responds:

Another totally false statement, since anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence


My reply:

And I follow the link, and in the first paragraph it says:

considered within the scope of scientific method as some anecdotal evidence can be both empirical and verifiable


So, just to recap. I said "This is part of science: it is anecdotal evidence."

you said "totally false statement, since anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science"."


now you said "another totally false statement". This is terribly awkward, as it suggests that I am a less than honest person. Not only on this occassion, which it seems I had to do to some length to defend myself. And, prove, that I was telling the truth. But you state "another" which suggests that there is at least one other time that I said something that was less that true. Can you please direct me to any statement that I have ever made that was less than true? I would appreciate the opportunity to defend that statement also.



I guess my point with this is to show how the word "science" is used as a weapon.  And it seems to often be used by folks that don't know what the word means.  It's just a great weapon that is so easy to use. 

I think that folks that are doing the research and writing the white papers tend to not say "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science".  They let their research and their work stand on its own merit.  And the word "science" never shows up.

So when I see the word "science" being thrown around as a weapon, my first thought is that the person wielding the word just found the weapon to be convenient and powerful - their knowledge of science is probably not significant.




 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
116
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sometimes I'm a very visual thinker. Something about your post today gave me the mental image of someone wielding a toaster by it's cord as a bludgeon. Obviously it has something to do with electricity so ever time there's a discussion that mentions electricity they grab their trusty toaster and start swinging. Am I grasping the idea behind "scientific" arguments?
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 501
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:In another forum, somebody pointed out that the stuff about using DE to combat parasites in livestock has "never been proven scientifically".   Here is my response:

Well ... this is awkward ...

First, all the stuff that has been proven (with our without a bright red sticker that says "SCIENCE!") is mighty large. I wouldn't be surprised to find there are a few hundred white papers proving almost anything. And the same number proving that the first batch ain't so.

As time passes, we find that a lot stuff that was "proven" was doctored. Thus making this awkward-ness awkward-er.

One day I was hauling a load of manure on a new trailer and a pretty new wheel with a pretty new tire passed me. I knew it was mine. We had been stopping about every ten minutes to tighten the lug nuts.

I stopped in case any more wheels wanted to make a solo venture. As I was retrieving my wayward wheel, my 80-year-old neighbor Tom came out to see what was up. Tom told me that I shouldn't use aluminum wheels on a trailer. Don't know why, but aluminum wheels just don't like staying on a trailer.

A week later I had all steel wheels - which never gave me a lick of trouble.

The point to all this is: is there "scientific proof" out there, somewhere, about aluminum wheels on trailers?

I once read of somebody doing fecal parasite counts and feeding their critters DE. They said DE works at eliminating parasites. And there are dozens of other folks that seem mighty certain of the same thing.

This is part of science: it is anecdotal evidence. When we get enough of it, and somebody gets the idea of doing some serious studies, they might prove or disprove .... and even then, their results could be questionable.

I think .... and I am just one giant doofus, so it really doesn't matter what I think .... I think there could be some truth in these claims. And it might take science a few decades to come up with their first thoughts, and a few centuries to clear up whether those first studies were true or not. In the meantime, we each read the debate and make our own decisions.

Frankly, I think DE is amazing stuff and should be kept in every building on the homestead. Which is why i wrote the article.


the same person then responds:

Another totally false statement, since anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence


My reply:

And I follow the link, and in the first paragraph it says:

considered within the scope of scientific method as some anecdotal evidence can be both empirical and verifiable


So, just to recap. I said "This is part of science: it is anecdotal evidence."

you said "totally false statement, since anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science"."


now you said "another totally false statement". This is terribly awkward, as it suggests that I am a less than honest person. Not only on this occassion, which it seems I had to do to some length to defend myself. And, prove, that I was telling the truth. But you state "another" which suggests that there is at least one other time that I said something that was less that true. Can you please direct me to any statement that I have ever made that was less than true? I would appreciate the opportunity to defend that statement also.



I guess my point with this is to show how the word "science" is used as a weapon.  And it seems to often be used by folks that don't know what the word means.  It's just a great weapon that is so easy to use. 

I think that folks that are doing the research and writing the white papers tend to not say "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science".  They let their research and their work stand on its own merit.  And the word "science" never shows up.

So when I see the word "science" being thrown around as a weapon, my first thought is that the person wielding the word just found the weapon to be convenient and powerful - their knowledge of science is probably not significant.





I'm an engineer - I even have a M.Sc. in Engineering!

My experience is that most of what it takes to take a M.Sc. or Ph.D. in Science is the ability to do as you are told, and not be too critical about what your professor tells you. If you continue to do that all the way through your university career your will end up as a tenured professor and you will continue the tradition.

That does not mean that I don't believe in "Science" - but what I do believe in mostly about science is the scientific method. That means that I have to always be critical of /everything/. Was it the editor of Nature who said that at least 50% of what they published could not be reproduced? That means that it cannot be proven.

When someone studies medicine, they start their studies with a belief in modern medicine (at least 99% of the time) and they will not be met with any good counter arguments throughout their studies. The same goes for climatology, microbiology, agronomy etc. The simple reason is that the people who vastly disagree with consensus never gets tenure (most never gets their Ph.D. because the cannot stand the academic environment). This is the reason that you rarely see people in these fields disagree with the consensus.

A great deal of science is "we measure this because this is possible to measure at this moment" - and then you can easily say "it has never been proven that ..." - but absence of proof is not proof of absence. Unless you have direct proof that it does not work, you don't really have an argument. Scientific bias is also quite common - want to prove that a vegan diet is better than eating meat? Well compare the vegan diet to the SAD and you are good - no matter how many times people complain and say "but everything is better that SAD" you have science to back you up...

There is no such thing as the science being settled, and not such thing as a discussion being over. That is a logical fallacy - it is call "the argument from authority" and the minute you use that, you have lost the argument in my not so humble oppinion (and I have used it myself, thus I have lost many many arguments - it is a bad habit that I am trying to wean myself of off).

Trust me - I'm an engineer
 
John Weiland
Posts: 919
Location: RRV of da Nort
40
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Re: "...Another totally false statement, since anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science". ..."

@Paul W.:  "I guess my point with this is to show how the word "science" is used as a weapon. ....  I think that folks that are doing the research and writing the white papers tend to not say "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science".  They let their research and their work stand on its own merit.  And the word "science" never shows up.

Weellllll, yes and no.  First, I agree that "...anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science".."  is nothing short of a boneheaded comment with, minimally, a grave misuse of the word "opposite".

But I can only partially agree with the notion that " ....folks that are doing the research and writing the white papers tend to not say "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science"."  That is to presume that getting a PhD and embarking on a career in scientific inquiry by default somehow imbues someone with the highest of ethical standards.   There certainly are no such formal criteria for getting the PhD although the notion of producing fraudulent data is considered unacceptable to the field.  While I agree that one would not use directly the phrases "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science", you'd be amazed at the number of articles that point to some human malady for which both a lifestyle change and a potential new drug would be equally valid control measures.....and yet depending on leaning of the authors, one of those measures might be more highly represented in the literature.  Would it be any surprise that the "drug" option is more frequently alluded to?  Journal editors are **supposed** to catch such bias, but the process is an all-too human one.  Ultimately which is to say that all such information, anecdotal, scientific or otherwise, might IMO be taken as a starting point for person-specific, site-specific, and context-specific investigation.  And you are correct that the word 'science', given it's power to persuade, surely will be misused when it suits those wielding it.



 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 501
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Weiland wrote:Re: "...Another totally false statement, since anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science". ..."

@Paul W.:  "I guess my point with this is to show how the word "science" is used as a weapon. ....  I think that folks that are doing the research and writing the white papers tend to not say "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science".  They let their research and their work stand on its own merit.  And the word "science" never shows up.

Weellllll, yes and no.  First, I agree that "...anecdotal evidence is the opposite of "science".."  is nothing short of a boneheaded comment with, minimally, a grave misuse of the word "opposite".

But I can only partially agree with the notion that " ....folks that are doing the research and writing the white papers tend to not say "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science"."  That is to presume that getting a PhD and embarking on a career in scientific inquiry by default somehow imbues someone with the highest of ethical standards.   There certainly are no such formal criteria for getting the PhD although the notion of producing fraudulent data is considered unacceptable to the field.  While I agree that one would not use directly the phrases "my science beats up your science" or "I crush your stupidity in the name of science", you'd be amazed at the number of articles that point to some human malady for which both a lifestyle change and a potential new drug would be equally valid control measures.....and yet depending on leaning of the authors, one of those measures might be more highly represented in the literature.  Would it be any surprise that the "drug" option is more frequently alluded to?  Journal editors are **supposed** to catch such bias, but the process is an all-too human one.  Ultimately which is to say that all such information, anecdotal, scientific or otherwise, might IMO be taken as a starting point for person-specific, site-specific, and context-specific investigation.  And you are correct that the word 'science', given it's power to persuade, surely will be misused when it suits those wielding it.



[/
Oh Yes! The amount of petty competition and "my science is nettet Ryan your science" kind of remarkable (though often disguised as "constructive criticism" is staggering in the academic milieu...
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 501
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I actually remember one math teacher telling me that chaos theory "wasn't science at all", so I guess it does happen
 
I do some of my very best work in water. Like this tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!