February 22, 2018

Science Does Not Correct Itself

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

There is a connotation of science where scientists gather information, make a hypothesis, test it, revise as necessary, it becomes a theory, and eventually a law. Somewhere along the line the thing gets put out to pasture if the facts are recalcitrant. Such a view is not only naïve, but ignores human nature. Scientists are human, after all. 


Scoffing at new material

One expression I have encountered when discussing the origins controversy is that "science corrects itself". Aside from the reification fallacy (science is not a living thing, but scientists may correct themselves), this has been shown to be false — often in areas of technology. Great inventors were laughed at, such as Robert Fulton and the Wright brothers. It was said that if people move too fast (aside from dangerous acceleration, change of direct, and deceleration), they would have physical problems or even die. Scoffers were silenced by results. Some people attribute this ridicule to fear of technology; fear of robots and artificial intelligence may or may not be founded. I reckon it started with the industrial revolution.


Science is does not correct itself, and scientists tend to protect the consensus
Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann

Phlogiston

Resistance to change has appeared in other scientific areas. People cling to the consensus; they may not want to "rock the boat". For example, scientists believed that phlogiston was the invisible ingredient that caused things to burn, and some were adhereing to it long after it was disproved.


Death in the hospital

A much more tragic insistence on consensus was with Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis. Women were dying from infections in hospitals after giving birth, and he used excellent critical thinking skills to isolate the problem and present a solution. Although he did not know why having doctors and students wash in a chlorine solution helped, deaths declined markedly. His peers laughed at him, and refused to consider the results, partly because he could not show the cause. His poorly-written treatise also hurt his purpose. He died a broken man, and he was only trying to save lives. Semmelweis was later vindicated by Pasteur and Lister. See "Ignaz Semmelweis: Medical pioneer persecuted for telling the truth" for more.


Blaming the staff

As an aside, the company where I work was having problems with completing data production. The Clock Nazi was blaming the staff for not working hard enough, and for "cheating". When I tried to offer my data processing skills and asked questions, he was blaming the day shift, while the night shift was "working harder". I pointed out that all the indications were of a software problem, since there was a major change about the time the problems began (the IT people at The Company frequently foul up the system). I wanted him to consider several factors, including timing, results, what changes were made, and other things. He insisted on blaming the staff. After he was made to go away, his views continued with his successors, since they prefer to listen to people on the inside instead of listening to the people who actually do the work. We will never know if I was on the right track or not. Admittedly, this is not about science per se, put it is about logic, human nature, and especially pride.


Overpopulation

In 1968, expert on insects Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb, which put people into a panic. He had projections about the bleak future of mankind due to overpopulation, which were discredited. It has been said that the entire population of the world can fit into New Zealand, New York City, Texas, Alaska...depends on who you read. I'll allow that it would be a mite uncomfortable, though. (I still have a vague memory of Overpopulation, a poster from the 1970s by John Pitre. The land was full of people packed together like sardines, with no land in sight. Probably inspired by Ehrlich. It was hysterics, not reality.) I suspicion that this population excitement was based on leftist political agendas. Even though the concepts were refuted, some people still have a kind of extreme overpopulation concept today. For more about Ehrlich and his book, I recommend the first part of this podcast of The Briefing, free to listen, download, or read the transcript.

Climate changes

For a time, it was thought that the world was going to have another ice age, and that idea persisted until fairly recently. Then it became global warming. Today, we hear most often about global climate change. There are scientists who reject man-made global warming, and the climate alarmists have been show to use faulty data and outright fraud. This fearmongering is based on old Earth and evolutionary concepts, which are based on circular reasoning and preconceptions. These fears are also based on an assumption that God does not exist or is not in control of his creation. 

Climate change is a darling of secularists, leftists, and globalists, who reject rational interpretations of true data. Instead, they prefer the hype and bad information, as climate change activists play on fears and the ignorance of science. Just look at the alarm over carbon dioxide, for example. Don't these clowns know basic science, and how plants need the stuff and give us oxygen in return? 

Evolutionary consensus

I'll end with Darwin's speculations about evolution. Although scientists disagree on so many areas, and although it has been falsified many times, Darwin's true believers crank out rescuing devices left and right. Speculations are passed off as actual scientific research, and there is an overabundance of terrible science and worse logic. Even though the logical conclusion is special creation, the implication that the Creator has told us about himself in his written Word is anathema to secularists. They are proudly rebelling against God, and upholding the erroneous consensus.

In the linked article about Semmelweis, you can see this quote: "The Semmelweis reflex is the informal name coined for the tendency of people to deny new evidence or knowledge that contradicts established beliefs or their worldview. As Semmelweis experienced, long-held ideas can remain entrenched despite potent evidence to the contrary, and people can and do persecute those who challenge the consensus, even when the consensus is wrong." Some folks go haywire and cry, "Katie, bar the door! We don't like the facts!" Evolution is an effort to remove God from the equation and essentially say that we created ourselves. God asked Job if he was going to blame God for his troubles so he could justify himself (Job 40:8), and I see many atheists and evolutionists attempting to do just that.




Pride

I'd like to add another aspect.

I believe that people want to think they're special, smart, right, and so forth. People professing atheism demonize God, the Bible, Christians, creationists, and so forth in what appears to be a pitiful effort to justify their rebellion against God. Scientists refuse to relinquish the consensus in light of new information, and the public follows what "scientists say" when it is convenient. Sure, people detest admitting they're wrong, even at their eternal peril. It all comes down to pride. That was Satan's downfall, and he's been using it to appeal to humanity ever since. God hates undue pride, and we have to rely on him to keep ours in check.

While some scientists make some corrections, a consensus can be firmly entrenched, and some will not change their views because it results in boat rocking as — well as pride problems. In addition, some scientists may have political or atheistic motives to protect the consensus. Science is definitely not self-correcting. Those who know the truth have to lead the cavalry charge up the hill and present the truth.

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