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RE: Scientific Evidence Shouldn't Dictate Your Opinion

in #science7 years ago

I think you have a very good point, from a theoretical and scientific point of view. What I find dangerous though, is a tendency of people in the last years to claim the existence of the so called 'alternate facts', in basically any discussion (not you). They also refuse to acknowledge the authority of people who are experts on certain subjects, by claiming that there is not one truth, but that everything is subjective. That might be the case, but if we follow that reasoning into every part of our lives, it will be a chaos.

Just a few examples: the surgeon general says vaccinations don't cause autism, but people deny that he knows what the talks about and refuse to vaccinate their children. Or somebody has cancer, and decides to try alternative medicine, because he doesn't trust doctors and read some study somewhere on the internet that says that alternative medicine can cure cancer. Or worse, there are still people today who claim the earth is flat. We could tell those people, well, it's highly likely that the earth is flat, but we are not sure. That would be a correct statement, but I think our society will benefit from a bit more belief in facts. Perhaps we have to introduce a new concept/word, a statement which is not 100% true, but in 99,999% of the cases.


First off, there is always chaos. Always has been. Order is relative to a certain perspective. Second, I don't dismiss scientific evidence. I just say not to take them at heart. Third, I am not a post-modernist. I am just skeptical about much of the scientific method. Simply, I cannot trust the current academic culture.

Forget about vaccinations (Scroll back in my blog and you will see I support most of them). People, in order to accept something they need evidence. It is hard to take something so complicated at face value. Why would anyone trust anybody because of their position? Should we trust politicians as well or famous people? How is merit really measured these days? These are the real questions.

A society where all people believe in facts delivered to them without researching themselves is doomed.

Should we trust politicians or famous people? Not because of their position, not at all no. Should we trust people that have studied years and years on a certain subject, who can be considered experts, and that for the great majority all agree on one issue? Yes, unless we have strong reasons not to. Many people doubt the opinion of experts without any good reason to do so. If that attitude (or lifestyle even) gets out of hand (and I am exaggerating slightly), schools and universities will be useless, because anytime a teacher tries to teach students any 'facts', students will not believe him because there are no facts.

You will find a nice example of what I mean in this scene of Thank You For Smoking (awesome movie), "Your mommy says you can't smoke? So is your mommy a doctor?"

I remember this one. :)

I do have strong reasons for not believing them at heart. There is too much lobbying in all scientific research nowdays. I know because I have been in academia.

This is true. There is a lot of advertising masked as science. Big Cannabis is a good example.

Authority does exist. You can argue "he says it, and he knows better than I do, so I think that's true". What's not correct is to say "he is an authority, so he cannot be wrong"; obviously authorities are wrong sometimes.

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