Tue, 08th Apr, 2014

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PostHeaderIconThe problem with debating trubees

From this thread:

http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?t=116360 (Page 54)

But you see, that IS the point. Science moves forward as a result of using the scientific method (albeit with some flashes of insight occasionally), and rigorous peer debate and review. It is hardly surprising that reputable scientists disagree at times, especially when they are at the cutting edge uncovering new knowledge or sorting out new problems like global climate change.

The issue of 'trampolining' which is only just becoming clearer, will probably lead to lots of disagreement.

The difference between reputable scientists rather than pseudo scientists, is in the rigorous application of the scientific method, and their open engagement in peer debate and review.

And their willingness to admit when they're wrong and change their mind.

There's a fundamental problem when trying to debate things like this with trubees:

There's a deep-seated need in the human psyche for certainty. Science doesn't offer much certainty (although the products of science might - cellphones, computers etc).

The charlatans, psuedo-scientists (& religion etc), on the other hand, take advantage of this human need by offering certainty (dishonestly, but perhaps honestly mistaken - a victim of the same need). "I know I'm right - you'll never convince me that I'm wrong"

The trubees, when offered this certainty, turn around and appy the same standards to the scientists - "How many earthquakes have you predicted?", "Scientists are wrong all the time - so why should we listen to them?"

The truth is - no one can offer certainty, but the scientists get the closest because they're able and willing to test their ideas (hypothoses), and have an open mind - which allows them to abandon ideas that don't work, and accept new ones that have been tested and now have evidence in their favour.

What's needed is more and better edumacation about science: what it is and how it works and, perhaps more importantly, what it isn't and how it doesn't work.

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