Home » News, Peer review, Science » Appeals to the authority of science are like appeals to the authority of the stock market.

Appeals to the authority of science are like appeals to the authority of the stock market.

Both science and the stock market have controls. Controls don’t always work. There is no substitute for caution, prudence, and common sense when evaluating claims.

In Ya Can’t Make This Stuff Up, Barry Arrington writes,

In response to my last post DrREC wrote: “what is Barry Arrington’s exposure to the practice of science that trumps that of a scientist who has “been around the scientific block” as he put it?”

Around the scientific block?

On the one hand, we have the physicists who refused to rule out faster than light neutrinos just because Einstein said it couldn’t happen. (You know it’s real science if it could be wrong.)

On the other hand, we have Marc “Evilicious” Hauser, Diedrik Stapel, and whatever the dickens is going on in the  “arsenic-based life” scandal.

One finds oneself saying: The block is fine. But  what about the alley?

It’s probably no accident that so many scandals have deep roots in a materialist view of life.

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10 Responses to Appeals to the authority of science are like appeals to the authority of the stock market.

  1. On the one hand, we have the physicists who refused to rule out faster than light neutrinos just because Einstein said it couldn’t happen.

    What physicists were those?

  2. 2

    You should get out more often goodusername. Churlish questions like yours, which you could answer yourself in ten strokes on Google, are dreary and tiresome. What do you hope to prove?

  3. You should get out more often goodusername. Churlish questions like yours, which you could answer yourself in ten strokes on Google, are dreary and tiresome. What do you hope to prove?

    Didn’t mean to be “tiresome” or “churlish”. I just really can’t imagine any physicist saying anything remotely like that, so if one did, I was really hoping to see it.

    I thought it’d be interesting.

    So instead of being insulting, how about, you know… give an example?

    I did look.

    I even followed the link given.

    But all I found was this:
    “The claim runs so counter to a century’s worth of physics that most observers won’t be content until the findings from the OPERA experiment are repeated under a variety of conditions, by different teams of researchers. If the results hold up, that would require a reinterpretation of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity”

    Which is quite reasonable of course (seems like common sense – does anyone actually disagree with that?)

    I suppose if someone replaced “just because Einstein said it” with “a century’s worth of physics” and replaced “refused” with “wanting further evidence”…

    Nah, that surely can’t be it.

    Well, uh, keep up the good work.

  4. AMEN.
    What does appeals to authority have to do with conclusions based on a methodology?
    Its on the merits of the case and so criticisms of the merits of the case are fine if they are good criticisms.
    Nothing to do with degree-ism.
    Origin issues are very important and a common heritage of mankind.
    Those who say they know what did or didn’t happen must prove it or come quite close.
    They can’t say We know better and that settles it.

    Nothing in origin contentions should be founded on trusting the competence of mankind.
    Show us the evidence.

  5. Scientific conclusions are not based on appeal to authority.

    We do cite consensus. That is not the same thing, and the consensus is constantly subject to re-evaluation.

    That’s why review articles and meta-analyses are so important.

    It’s also why scientists say “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. If a finding goes against a hugely succesful explanatory theory, it is simply more likely that the finding is experimental error than that the theory is wrong.

    However, “more likely” isn’t the same as “certain”, obviously, and clearly, findings that really do require the re-evaluation of existing models are the ones that most excite scientists. They are the ones that get published in Nature, and win Nobel Prizes for their discoverers.

  6. The scientific consensus pertaining to the theory of evolution appears to be based solely on authority as it doesn’t have any evidence to support its grand claims.

    Heck with extraordinary evidence, your position needs some plain ole evidence.

    Oh never mind- you were talking about successful explanatory theory and the ToE is as explanatory as a 5th grader explanation for not having the homewrok completed.

  7. How many people here are familiar with Robert Merton’s (social) ethics/norms of science – in short, CUDOS?

    Here is a compact look at Merton’s CUDOS, along with Ziman’s industrial science acronym PLACE:
    http://shawncunningham.wordpress.com/tag/cudos/

    In that blog post, I would of course take issue with the so-called ‘technological evolution of societies’. But since UD’s Dembski supports ‘technological evolution,’ perhaps that won’t be a sticking point for any IDists or anti-IDists here.

    Or here:
    http://rien.hostei.com/Wijsbeg....._model.pdf

  8. You might try reading this article:

    http://www.nature.com/news/neu.....ing-1.9393

    The physicists are named therein.

  9. Yeah, that’s about the best I could find too.
    I had a hard time believing that that was the sort of thing that they were referring to, but it would seem so.

    Thanks for the link.

  10. Amen if extraordinary evidence is needed.
    Evolution makes fantastic claims and the claim it replaced biblical creationism.
    Show us this fantastic evidence!!!

    The defence of conclusions in origin issues always, by them, invokes authority.
    Thread after thread on this forum demonstrates it.

    No not the original conclusion by some researcher but all the ones following.
    i always find and satisfy myself that those who defend evolution greatly put their confidence in authority and not the merits.
    As if evolution had no merits it would be this way.

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