I Just Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be a Scientist

Real science, properly done, has been, and will continue to be, a real boon and blessing to humanity. But when scientists allow themselves to become mere propagandists for some trendy activist agenda, then we need to be very worried indeed. And the history of science tells us that this happens far too often.

Instead of sticking with hard, cold data and facts, scientists can just as likely fall prey to ideology, agendas, bias, peer pressure, financial interests, cravings for fame, popularity and status, and so on. And scientists can be just as gullible as anyone else.

That scientists are mere humans, and are therefore just as susceptible to fraud, deceit, ego, bias, and publicity-seeking as anyone else, should be not hard to comprehend. Simply putting on a white lab coat does not transform ordinary human beings into totally incorruptible, completely neutral, fully objective, and totally rational super-beings.

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Indeed, plenty of books have documented all the pretty lousy things done in the name of science over the years. As but one example, consider the helpful 2001 volume by Daniel Greenberg which I review here: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2004/08/22/a-review-of-science-money-and-politics-political-triumph-and-ethical-erosion-by-daniel-greenberg/

Indeed, some of the things scientists come up with most normal people would find just too hard to swallow. Indeed, it would take too much blind faith to buy some of the nonsense they can push at times. On such occasions they have clearly taken leave of their scientific senses, and instead simply have both feet planted firmly in midair.

I have written before about examples of this. But a news item in today’s press probably takes the cake on all this. Consider the headline for starters: “Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists”. I kid you not. I am not making this up folks.

As reported in today’s Guardian, here is how the story begins: “It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

“Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

“This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by scientists at Nasa and Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.

“Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity ‘prepare for actual contact’. In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.”

So there you have it folks: our hard-earned taxes being put to good use by the scientific community. Gee, with eggheads like these guys, no wonder so many ordinary people do not exactly give science the highest of marks. Just what sort of moonbattery is this?

Indeed, it might be far wiser to say that we should put scientists into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful. In this case, it seems that harmful is the most obvious category for these fruitloops. Delusional might be another category. Or whacko.

And we are all supposed to bow down and worship at the altar of science when these folks come up with zingers like this? Atheists like Dawkins regularly chide people of faith, claiming they are out of touch with reality and living in la la land. We are instead to put all our trust in science, he and others insist.

Sorry bub, but I’m just not buying it. Sure, we can just dismiss this particular case as a few nutters going off the planet here. But the troubling thing is, so often those who defend science as the only source of objective knowledge and truth will go on and on about how religious folk depend upon nothing but faith, superstition, and incredulity.

If this bizarre episode is not an example of just that, then I don’t know what is. And as I mentioned, this is not the only case like this which can be cited. The sad truth is, science is not the saviour, scientists do not have all truth, and scientists can and do get it wrong – often.

Appreciate science – yes, within proper limits. But hold up science as the end all and be all, and the only fount of knowledge and truth? Sorry, not me. It often takes far too much faith to hop on board the latest “scientific” bandwagon. I would rather deal with reality, not science fiction.

www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/aug/18/aliens-destroy-humanity-protect-civilisations

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