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Failings of science

Failings of science
September 30, 2009, 09:40:21 AM
Black metal, like its parent genre Romanticism, was a revolution against the Enlightenment that used the values of the Enlightenment against the common conception of what the Enlightenment meant. In particular, Romanticism targeted rationalism and individualism.

Its mockery of rationalism was to point out, scientifically, how our arrogant scientists pick one thread out of ten thousand, measure its before and after states, and conclude it was the cause of the result of the whole complex process. This is what Michael Crichton called "thin intelligence" or "partial intelligence": the ability of a brain to be very good at a specific process, but useless as to the big picture.

Its mockery of individualism was to point out how individualism is useless in a social context, and is only a means to the end of experiencing life, so those who use socialized individualism as a goal are, of course, delusional idiots.

Here we can see bad science on the march with "statistical superstition" as described above:

Social status in childhood appears to influence one's health in adulthood, according to a 30-year study published today.

The study tracked more than 14,000 children born in Sweden in 1953. They were followed through 2003. When the children were in sixth grade, they were assessed for their degree of popularity, power and social status. The information was matched to data on subsequent hospital admissions recorded from 1973 to 2003.

The analysis showed the least-popular people in childhood had the highest overall risk of serious health problems as adults. They were four times as likely to be hospitalized for hormonal, nutritional or metabolic diseases compared with their popular classmates. They were more than twice as likely to develop mental health and behavioral problems and more than five times as likely to be admitted for unintentional poisoning. Finally, they were more prone to develop drug and alcohol abuse problems and heart disease.

Apocalyptic City Times

There are of course here statistical exceptions, who were the kids who were not popular but also had something going for them, like being dissident science jocks or absurdist literature aces. They're talking not about the class geeks, but the people on the lower half of the middle: not popular not because they're freaks, but because they had nothing to offer.

So out of ten thousand reasons why these people might have health problems, we zero in on one: their degree of popularity, itself a highly subjective and non-linear scaling.

We ignore the fact that if they were not popular, there was a proximate cause, mainly that they were probably ill, useless, stupid, disfigured, incontinent, projective vomiters already.

We could get the same figure by measuring those who could spell "vomit" and seeing how they did in later life. The clueless did not prosper; the clued in, and those with clued in parents, did.

No wonder "science" is so bad -- it's done backward. Instead of seeking truth by experimenting, we seek a popular answer and then make narrow cherrypicked-factor studies to justify it.

Re: Failings of science
September 30, 2009, 02:02:30 PM
No wonder "science" is so bad -- it's done backward. Instead of seeking truth by experimenting, we seek a popular answer and then make narrow cherrypicked-factor studies to justify it.

First of all, I wouldn´t make such statement based on a general newspaper article...

These are basic scientific errors and to overcome them is the first thing young scientists are being taught - or as far as my experience goes. But sometimes the problem is somewhere else - sometimes the grant system is set so badly that you have to do and publish nonsense and embrace the popular rhetoric to get money for more important research or "publicity points" which are needed if you want the results of your work to be seen in the academic field.

What You seem to be pointing to is the level of understanding of the scientific method by scientists. I can't talk about America, but i think that more and more people are getting into the scientific sphere and the filter which truly separarated the able and unable begins to tear from within - the reasons are economic.
So it seems just "natural" that scientist are producing their own kind of spam. I don't think it's so much an issue - as long as we strive to have better and better teachers. That's the goal of, I dare say, all of the universities of the world.

Or did I miss Your point?

Re: Failings of science
September 30, 2009, 04:12:28 PM
Money driving understanding results in knowledge tailored to suit money handlers; those who have personal wealth, not wisdom, as their central concern in life. How much jack did Plato or Nietzsche bank?

Re: Failings of science
September 30, 2009, 05:40:52 PM
@ Conservationist:

You're talking about confusing causation and correlation, no?

That their lack of popularity was merely incedental, not the cause it self?

Or even IF it could be a cause, it would still only be one of possible hundreds?

And by making efforts to "equalize" or "neutralize" the popular and unpopular children, we're wasting time and energy?

(But not a waste to those few who profit from such activity?)

Re: Failings of science
September 30, 2009, 08:19:11 PM
In persuasive speeches and I'm assuming writing as well, there is a psychological tool you can use to scare people into agreement by highlighting Danger to the Children.

Marxist article summary: get behind economic equality because the children are hurting while you tarry.

Re: Failings of science
September 30, 2009, 09:50:48 PM
This is what Michael Crichton called "thin intelligence" or "partial intelligence": the ability of a brain to be very good at a specific process, but useless as to the big picture.

Isn't that how Aspies work?

Pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking features of AS. Individuals with AS may collect volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic such as dinosaurs or members of Congress, without necessarily having genuine understanding of the broader topic.

Re: Failings of science
September 30, 2009, 10:57:31 PM
Picking out a newspaper article as a critique of science is extremely poor reasoning. Most newspapers will find a scientific journal and paraphrase the results into a neat little tidbit of information. Most scientific articles will never imply that one variable implies causation of another, but will point out correlation.

I saw this a little while, excellent example of why you should always be critical of any study reported in newspapers:

Re: Failings of science
October 01, 2009, 01:30:55 AM
There's nothing unsound about the scientific method, but the current global paradigm has appropriated said method to the end of promoting a set of bad memes. You can be 'scientific' about anything, but unless it holds relevance to quality of life, what's the point? Science is an industry like any other, and with a parent system like ours, it necessarily will pander to whatever is most profitable/immediately beneficial rather than whatever is most likely to maximize quality. We use science to find new ways to perpetuate things like excessive consumption, declaring the means of consumption a problem rather than the consumption itself, because if it makes us feel good, it can't be a bad idea. Want something to please you no matter what the cost, but finding it difficult for it to continue doing so? Better toss a huge budget at a project aiming to exploit reality to that end.

Anyone can collect data, but few are capable of ascertaining from where data should be gleaned and for what purposes. If the scientific method is a tool with which to make approximations of reality, it will only be as strong as those who wield it. You can upgrade from a hammer to a nail gun in order to conserve time and energy, but if what you're hanging up is stupid, where has 'science' gotten you?

Re: Failings of science
October 01, 2009, 12:57:01 PM
I didn't see the Problem of Induction being mentioned here. It hasn't been solved, yet.

The Scientific Method is, more than an exclusive system of "heuristic" worth, a system of certification of what had been found.
The ancient Greeks didn't use a well-structured and well-maintained method of certification, and they were able to discover, ponder, consider, approximate and reckon many things that  reflect both reality andthe pure-hypothesis, mind and matter. The "revival" of  Western-thought began with a sight over one's shoulder to the long trail History left behind -- eyes gazing upon the heritage of Greek and Rome. The foundations the Greeks (and other Civilizations) have laid out for mankind are profound - by mentioning the Greeks I wish to say that it is not necessarily that a single "method" will discover a truth (Look at Archeology and History, for instance), and Science (working according the Scientific Method) can't really appropriate the thought of, the will or the actual outcome (thought, will and outcome in relevance to truth and reality)  to itself.

The great thing about Science is that it hardly limited by its own "merit". Science can be limited by Religion, Ethics and Economics, but Science in itself is ever-expanding. The bad thing about Science is that it can be attached to any social ideal or cultural meme floating with the periodic current - and that Scientists are biased (I say it as a general thing). Now, Science has a point of weakness emerging out of itself-- the worst part in Science is probably Technology, specifically technology after the industrial revolution. To put aside the environmental arguments against the post-Industrial mechanization of life - Technology simply works, while being applied onto society, as a breeder of dysfunctional behavior. Lazy, passive, Dionysian / Hedonistic, selfish, ill. 
Another problem of Science is, as was mentioned here, the specificity. Whilst the pre-19th century Scientists were perfecting the Science of "Deeds" - modern scientists perpetuate a Science of Work / Labor - being a part of the economical system. But in a world of ever-expanding Science, I think most newly-formed Scientists are foredoomed to a life in the lab / accumulating rates and statistics / and so on. About rates and Statistics - they simply vary too much to be held in such high-esteem.

To conclude, I'll quote something I posted - how I divide the "positive" from the "negative" aspects and fields of Science:
I must clarify - not the Reason do I criticize, but the ambiguous interpretations and prehensions that reason may forge. Modern Science is simply that - a reason-driven system that provides self-gratifying, Apollonian and Utilitarian solutions to men's problems. And it gets worse -- since our Modern Science is a reason-oriented system based on empiricism and evidence - everything Science gratifies, is, by its very nature, "true" until another grasp of things is suggested. It fails greatly to find a state of Equilibrium between human desires and realistic knowledge - and I think it can't. What we have today is a Liberal Science. Calling something like liberal Science or Utilitarian Science "not-really-actually-scientific" but hailing the products of it is idiotic - when "reason" is applied on the actual lives of people, there are motives, agendas and desires behind that. The problem Liberal Science / Utilitarian/ Techno- Science created is the lose of the "Ideal of Knowledge". Science is exactly what it is today - not what should be or could be. Modern Science is Utilitarian, Liberal, Humanistic. This is not a surprise, the very scientific method was "refined and honed" by 19th-20th century liberal thinkers - Science is a vehicle of "pleasure", "happiness" and other such Utilitarian desires. It is almost too fantastical to think it isn't!
It's the Science of the educated working-men - the wonderful and primordial science of deeds is dead - or perhaps only preserved in a few "classical" fields, especially mathematics and theoretical physics. Another distinction we must make regarding Science - there's Science that works for the sake of knowledge - let's say Archeology, Theoretical Physics/Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mathematics - and there are "practical" sciences or scientifically approved practical systems - the various Technological fields, such as engineering and electronics; Health, "practical" physics, chemistry, biotechnology, etc. There are Science who stand in betwixt - Natural sciences and Social sciences. Science is too broad to be over-simplified. Throwing into discussion a term like "Science", and saying this is "Reason" and therefore - good, is WRONG. Trying to support Science with physical and "realistic" or "practical" evidence, overshadows the term Reason. One cannot say that Science is not Utilitarian or that Religion's utilitarian value doesn't count (dialectically or "physically") and on the same present evidence with a strong Utilitarian value to prove Science's worth, in such reductionist fashion. Nevertheless, we cannot deny or ignore the fact that some sciences, mainly those untamed and untouched by utilitarian thought, are flourishing. Astrophysics for instance.

Re: Failings of science
October 02, 2009, 06:13:37 PM
P =/= NP