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Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:22 PM

Do you think it is possible to believe one kind of science but deny another?

For instance; believe in climate change but not in medical science.
Discuss.

44 replies, 2247 views

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Reply Do you think it is possible to believe one kind of science but deny another? (Original post)
onecaliberal Feb 2015 OP
TexasProgresive Feb 2015 #1
WinkyDink Feb 2015 #2
WestCoastLib Feb 2015 #3
onecaliberal Feb 2015 #4
Fumesucker Feb 2015 #14
Marr Feb 2015 #16
WestCoastLib Feb 2015 #20
tkmorris Feb 2015 #21
HereSince1628 Feb 2015 #22
enough Feb 2015 #9
onecaliberal Feb 2015 #10
Adrahil Feb 2015 #25
onecaliberal Feb 2015 #35
Man from Pickens Feb 2015 #5
onecaliberal Feb 2015 #6
Man from Pickens Feb 2015 #18
Crunchy Frog Feb 2015 #39
KingCharlemagne Feb 2015 #7
onecaliberal Feb 2015 #8
pnwmom Feb 2015 #11
KingCharlemagne Feb 2015 #17
hunter Feb 2015 #12
Marr Feb 2015 #13
mzmolly Feb 2015 #15
daredtowork Feb 2015 #33
mzmolly Feb 2015 #41
Igel Feb 2015 #19
onecaliberal Feb 2015 #23
salib Feb 2015 #29
Kaleva Feb 2015 #24
NoJusticeNoPeace Feb 2015 #26
arcane1 Feb 2015 #27
on point Feb 2015 #28
Yo_Mama Feb 2015 #36
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2015 #40
exboyfil Feb 2015 #30
MohRokTah Feb 2015 #31
roguevalley Feb 2015 #32
Yo_Mama Feb 2015 #34
luke102938 Feb 2015 #37
Crunchy Frog Feb 2015 #38
jpak Feb 2015 #42
LWolf Feb 2015 #43
JHB Feb 2015 #44

Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:26 PM

1. People believe what they want.

and disbelieve what they don't. It seldom has to do with reason or political beliefs.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:27 PM

2. I can "believe in" medical science, yet not in every. single. element. of it. "Science" is always

 

changing, evolving, discovering, even retracting.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:29 PM

3. If "belief" is a part of science for you, you're doing it wrong.

Science isn't religion or a belief system.

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Response to WestCoastLib (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:33 PM

4. How do you explain people who think climate change is real

Because of scientific study, but refuse to "believe" the same scientific kinds of study that says vaccines do not cause autism.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:08 PM

14. I suspect that it's more often the other way around

Climate change deniers mostly want the very best and up to date medical care.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:15 PM

16. There are no scientific studies that say vaccines cause autism.

 

There are people who believe it to be the case, and attempt to support that belief with a collection of logical fallacies and sophistry. That isn't science.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:26 PM

20. They are using science (poorly) to support their beliefs...

More aptly, they are using intentionally or ignorantly written studies of dubious scientific credibility to support their non-scientific beliefs.

Belief and science are 2 very different things. They are in fact, almost polar opposites. The problem is that most people are very attached to their beliefs and are unwilling to question them (as you need to in order to practice science). Mentally, most people shut that line of thinking down in their minds before it becomes "dangerous" to their belief system. This can lead to what you are suggesting. This is "doing it wrong". This is not science.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:55 PM

21. "Science" isn't what people believe in, or not

Science is merely a methodology. Done properly it is the best tool we have for learning about the world around us

However science can be, and often is, done improperly by those who have an agenda. This is what causes some people to be cynical when someone tells them a thing is so "because, science".

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Response to tkmorris (Reply #21)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 05:48 PM

22. A science based on a single scientific method is most certainly a belief

Personally I think there are at least 3 classes of methods used in science.

Even if it was "A" methodology saying it is the best methodology becomes tautological...if science is only methodology and there is only one methodology, then logically there are no degrees of freedom by which to identify best by comparison...the only methodology becomes by default THE BEST (and only) Methodology.


Personally, I think science includes in general terms...

Philosophies (aka formal inclinations that direct acquisition of information--such as integrationism vs reductionism, as well as Disciplines which have constructed guiding rules and standards),

Practices --herein lie the method or method(s)--whether that's plural or singular probably depends on one of those previous philosophy thingys,

and

the accumulated tentative understanding ( sometimes referred to as the corpus of science) acquired through the philosophical consideration and applications of methodologies.


on edit: I think it's interesting that methodologically, not all the methods used in science are limited to use in science...iow the methods aren't unique to science.

Logical argumentation is very important to science, but it's also important to other fields of study.
Mathematics, which might be argued to be just a form of logic is widely used in science, and reduction of ideas to the mathematical equations, really becomes a mechanism for communication (i.e language,) that is highly suited to formal logical, and numerical considerations. Again something not unique to science, but pretty common.

Most sciences develop jargon and some develop lexicons, along the way many disciplines have developed what border on constructed language complete with rules about: how to communicate identities known to science; how to limit the verb actions and directions of action associated with identities/things; and that even place limits on the effect those actions by those identities can have on other objects.

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Response to WestCoastLib (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:44 PM

9. Thanks, I was trying to think of how to say that. (nt)

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Response to enough (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:52 PM

10. I just don't understand those folks. I also don't think they are liberal if they don't believe

In science.

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Response to WestCoastLib (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 06:21 PM

25. You correct, but the word "believe" is often used...

 

... as shorthand to mean "I am convinced by the evidence, at least for the moment" with regard to scientific theories.

In that context it's not a faith statement.

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #25)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:38 PM

35. Yes, thanks for explaining that better than I ever could.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:33 PM

5. depends

 

There's science, and then there's Science, the Religion(tm)... the latter is a unitary dogma, from what I have learned, but the former has room for skepticism and inconclusiveness.

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Response to Man from Pickens (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:34 PM

6. I'm not talking about religion. Just purely science.

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:18 PM

18. there are two things that go by the name of science

 

the first is actual science

the second is a collection of bias confirmations and erroneous interpretations, infused with confidence levels far above and beyond that of the underlying data

make sure you know which one you are dealing with in each specific instance

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Response to Man from Pickens (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 8, 2015, 04:00 AM

39. Very well stated. n/t

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:36 PM

7. It's possible, but it's not very logical, if one subscribes to the Scientific Method

 

as a means for determining knowledge.

Now, having said that, I am reminded that certain scientific disciplines, like, for example, psychology (as practiced by Freud, Jung, Maslow and their heirs) are in their relative infancy. Just because they are in their infancy does not render them less valid, even though many of their conclusions must of necessity be somewhat provisional.

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:38 PM

8. Exactly. Not logical. No critical thought.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 03:55 PM

11. You can believe in science as a process while also knowing that part of the process

is dealing with errors, and that the human beings who carry out science are capable of making them.

And some people -- for example, those who for decades used "science" to support the argument that tobacco smoking was safe -- are motivated by greed, and the "scientific results" they produce must be closely scrutinized.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:17 PM

17. Excellent post. I would go further and say all science should be subject to

 

(perhaps even subordinate to) ethical scrutiny. After all, science gave us nuclear weapons. I also have vague memories that the manned space missions in the name of 'Science' occasioned some criticism that the same society that achieved such heights (npi) also had massive amounts of poverty and despair. (Don't hear that critique much these days but, by the same token, the manned space flight programs have pretty much ceased save in the private sector.)

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:04 PM

12. There's a small shitload (and I do mean shitload) of scientists who are creationists.

Some of them are even biologists, which makes no sense whatsoever because biology makes no sense without evolutionary theory to tie it all together. It'd be like a chemist insisting there are only four elements and telling everyone the periodic table is bullshit.

I can't even imagine how such a mind works, although I suspect many of them are simply lunatics or sociopaths who have abandoned science because ripping off fundamentalist morons is a more lucrative business for them. It's rather similar to a medical doctor who decides to sell recreational drug prescriptions to wealthy people or promote worthless dietary supplements on television.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:07 PM

13. Science isn't about 'belief'.

 

If you're asking if you can find the scientific evidence for any given position to be unconvincing or faulty, then of course. That's what science is all about. That's what makes it different from dogmatic, faith-based 'belief'.

But you'd better be able to explain just what part of the evidence you consider faulty, and why. And you'd better be prepared to actually consider the response.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:10 PM

15. Define "believe in medical science"

please.

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Response to mzmolly (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:12 PM

33. Yes, there's the rub

People might trust the medical science of antibiotics but not trust vaccines - that suggests they trust their local family doctor but not distant institutionalized "government" science or the financial vested interests of Big Pharma. "Science" is a big elastic term with many components.

Moreover, this thinly disguised attack on anti-vaxxers goes on to reduce these to the "vaccines cause autism" argument in the comments. People refuse vaccines for many reasons. What about Christan Scientists? What about other medical theories/fears? What about the conspiracy theorists who think vaccines are about culling the population somehow or medical experimentation? What about people who are just trying to avoid paying for the vaccine? People have a lot of reasons for doing what they do.

Anyone who thinks that all anti-vaxxers can be lumped together and they can further be lumped into a massive cohort that "doesn't believe in science" - they are frankly the simple-minded one.

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Response to daredtowork (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 8, 2015, 05:30 PM

41. As you note, there are nuances.

I think of the vaccine debate as much like the gun debate. If I support logical gun policy and the notion that we should not have guns around those who are mentally ill (for example) I'm called "anti-gun." If I suggest that we might do well to explore alternatives to controversial vaccine ingredients and/or try to identify those who are vulnerable to a vaccine reaction, I am "anti-vaccine." Ridiculous.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 04:22 PM

19. Yup.

Even without the narrow interpretation of "believe" as something taken on faith with no evidence. "Believe" can also just mean "have confidence in" with evidence to back it up. Silly word games in an effort to so narrow the argument that the conclusion has to be predetermined, rather than argued on the basis of evidence.

That's how the human mind works. It's not consistent. Doesn't need to be consistent. Most of those who have confidence in the assertions of global warming haven't looked at the tree ring evidence, calibration evidence from weather stations in the 1930s or 1970s, the distribution of weather stations over time or either the carbon dioxide concentrations in ice cap ice cores or calcium carbonate isotopes in coral cores. They haven't studied dendrology, they couldn't derive the equations for absolute radioisotope dating, nor prove that the math used to derive the equations was valid. Their "evidence" is all clearly hearsay, depending on having trust and confidence in those presenting the evidence, their ability to draw conclusions, and the independence of those conclusions from conflicts of interest.

(In other words, please note that when push comes to shove, unless you've actually collected the data yourself there 's an element of unsubstantiated trust and confidence that has to come into play. It's not all abstract reasoning, and those data aren't divinely revealed and therefore infallible.

One accepts what mostly readily fits with what one already accepts as true. Sometimes one accepts what is convenient, to avoid discomfort. One often accepts claims based not on the claims but on the attributes of the person making a claim--letters after the name, party affiliation, who else supports that person's claims. Often all of that depends on familiarity with the data and what "critical thinking" means in that particular discipline (since it seems to vary, with very good critical thinkers in one discipline having no clue how to think critically in another).

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Response to Igel (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 06:08 PM

23. Very good explanation. Thank you!

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Response to Igel (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 06:55 PM

29. Excellent post

Thank you.

Some here on this thread do try to define "believe" so narrowly as to presage the conclusion.

It is important to note that "science" also includes methods of administration, collaboration, knowledge sharing, etc., methods such as peer review. These are believed to sufficient by most practitioners in order to pursue scientific study, discourse, etc. One could even argue that practitioners have faith in these methods, or at least the results of them.

But, no need to stir that pot.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 06:14 PM

24. I think most eveyone does this to some degree.

One sees it here at DU. A set of facts can be presented but there ends up being a wide variety of interpretations as to what these facts mean.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 06:31 PM

26. Anti vaxxers confuse for profit RX companies who might very well lie and harm for profit

with consensus science on the product they created.

It isnt ONLY the industry RX experts who say there is no correlation, it is all of science that studies the issue.

someone needs to unconfuse these people, i know, not a word

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 06:37 PM

27. Absolutely. Especially if one is familiar with one topic and not another.

 

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 06:52 PM

28. Science is a method to produce theories, you can support 1 theory but not another based on evidence

presented.

You still support science in both cases, but in case the evidence presented to back that theory, and replicated by others is convincing; whereas the evidence for a different theory in another field of enquiry does not seem convincing because perhaps because it is not replicated, or seems to much correlation and not enough causation.

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Response to on point (Reply #28)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:56 PM

36. Right. E.G whereas testing the hypothesis that a rise in reported autism cases was related to MMR

might have been reasonable, the problem is that since there does not seem to be any convincing supporting data and that the highest quality study date we have seems to strongly rebut that hypothesis.

But has the media accurately reported on that fact? I don't think so.

Speaking of it in terms of "belief"just seems off, unless we are speaking of belief as a ground for action. Science is inherently skeptical and evidence-based, plus open. The evidence is there for anyone to look at - that's why supporting data is supposed to be submitted to publications for archival and review.

Nor can you even substitute a belief in what scientists say, because they will often disagree and will sometimes be wrong. After all, it was a doctor who started the MMR thing, and has since been struck due to his refusal to deal with evidence.

Nor is science something that depends on credentials or memberships in professional associations. Science - and acceptance of any particular scientific claim - must always be based on evidence, or the underpinnings of science are destroyed.

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Response to on point (Reply #28)

Sun Feb 8, 2015, 04:15 AM

40. That's a misunderstanding of "theory"

a theory is an explanation for particular phenomena which is supported by testing and evidence. If it's not supported by testing and evidence, it's a hypothesis, not a theory. Hence Newton's theory of universal gravitation, Einstein's theory of general relativity, etc.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 07:28 PM

30. Vaccines are technology and not science per se

They utilize scientific discoveries and methodology in their development, but their production is technology based on industry. Each vaccine is different. We have different methods to produce these vaccines. Different companies which produce them. Different antigens which are being used dependent upon the target illness. Doing to statistics to firmly establish any correlation with deleterious side effects is very difficult. Even if a correlation is shown we have not demonstrated causation. It is virtually impossible to run a study with a control group because denying vaccines is highly unethical even to those who voluntary forego them. The other approach would be to identify the mechanism f the deleterious side effect which is dependent on how good our animal and other models are.

This being said the cost benefit analysis dictates widespread immunization.

AGW is different because we are dealing with a single closed physical system. It is a very complex system in which the models are continually being modified. More than one human induced input is involved. The feedback mechanisms are still evaluated and the models being further refined. Observational evidence indicates an increase in the energy stored in our biosphere, but such readings are difficult. We understand the basic mechanisms for increasing the absorption of the sun's energy, and we appear tobe contributing to those factors. In spite of the Republican denials, we obviously have the capability and are almost certainly "terraforming" our environment. Most predictions show negative externalites involved in AGW.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 07:29 PM

31. I think people tend to engage in confirmation bias.

 

They accept facts that confirm preconceived notions and reject facts that do not.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 07:33 PM

32. yes

if one is astronomy and the other phrenology or social darwinism or ...

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 10:34 PM

34. Science doesn't have much to do with belief, does it?

Conviction, maybe, if you find the evidence for one scientific hypothesis more convincing than another. Because science is a system developed on evidence, it is reasonable to doubt any piece of it until you can find strong evidence suggesting your doubt is wrong - that is in fact what scientists DO - but even then you may not be right.

Certain parts of science have such strong evidence that we can take them as fact. Others are less supported.

For example, before this flu season we would have assumed that the flu vax would be far more effective than it turned out to be. You would have been sensible to conclude that getting the flu shot gave you much better odds against getting the flu than in fact resulted.

I think people who talk about science, or any branch of it, as if it is all one entire black box that must be accepted in toto or rejected in toto are missing the point entirely.

As for medical science and climate science, they are both fascinating endeavors with high levels of uncertainty at some points, and both are fields of science in which our knowledge is growing rapidly, so things we thought we knew one decade turn out not to be true the next decade.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sat Feb 7, 2015, 11:07 PM

37. You can agree with the idea of scientific methodology in its pure form but

 

Scientific methodology can still be flawed by the human factor. Politics, Money and even bias on a subconscious level can effect the outcome.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sun Feb 8, 2015, 03:56 AM

38. Some science is done well, and some is done badly.

I reserve the right to try to distinguish between the two to the best of my ability.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sun Feb 8, 2015, 05:37 PM

42. If you are a complete dumbass - anything is possible

yup

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sun Feb 8, 2015, 06:02 PM

43. I don't think science is something to "believe."

It just is. Sometimes it gives us more information than others. Just because information comes from science, it doesn't mean it's complete, or completely correct.

Information gained through science can be manipulated, spun, misused, and abused just like anything else.

Still, science isn't a "belief." Which should be evident, but often, in reading the way people refer to it, is not.

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Response to onecaliberal (Original post)

Sun Feb 8, 2015, 06:05 PM

44. Of course. There are millions of examples of people doing just that.

They're usually wrong about one thing, but that doesn't stop people from doing it.

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