Tag Archives: Science

Political "Refutability"

Diagram showing a refutation of a false dispro...
Image via Wikipedia

In the scientific method there one of the most important concepts is refutability. It is so imperative to have a falsifiability in your theories that if you do not include one, one might as well consider them as having no credence.

A very simple way to define refutability is to ask oneself “What would it take to prove my theory/idea/phislosophy wrong”. Once you ask this, and you are being honest with yourself, you should have a few conditions which, if they are met, will show you that you might be wrong and, at the least, need to rethink your theories.

The lack of refutability is the easiest way one can tell science from crackpot theories and woo-woo. How do you prove that Homeotherapy does not work? You can’t. How do you prove that ghosts do not exist? You can’t. How do you prove that the theory of evolution is wrong? Rabbits in the Precambrian.

This lack of refutability is also the main reason why religious belief cannot be awarded any factual standing.Is there any way to prove that Jesus did not exist or was not a deity that has not been done already? And yet the religion persists.

So basically, in very simple terms, it is all about asking oneself “What would it take to convince me I’m wrong” and it is the most powerful in any skeptic’s arsenal. However science and philosophy are not the only places one can apply this very powerful too. One should seek to apply this question to any and all beliefs they hold. And one of them that many people do not is Politics.

It has become the rule rather than the exception that people associate themselves with one party and stick with it no matter what. I have very rarely seen people seriously considering the question “What would they have to do to lose my vote?“. People simply choose one party and make excuses on why they need to keep supporting them. Simply because this question has never been set, one can keep supporting a party long after most of the core values he or she holds have been overrrun.

I can’t think of any more obvious example than the US Democratic party. The party that what passes as “left” in the US, endorses. The reason most often than not is “Because they’re not as bad as the Republicans”. How many of these liberals have asked themselves this simple question? “What do they democrats have to do to lose my vote?”. Support the Iraq war? Done. Support Wall Street Bailout? Done. Increase military spending? Done. Lie? Done. Oppose Atheists? Done.

So what values exactly is the Democratic party sharing with you again? If you still have any, how many of those do they need to step on before you stop supporting them? If the only threshold you place is “They need to become worse than the republicans”, doesn’t that condemn you and your society to erosion? All the Republicans then need to do in order to achieve the agenda is move more and more to the right and the Democrats will follow (so as not to be labeled as “extreme left”) while their supporters create excuses for them. Eventually you end up with Democrats simply being the republicans of the past, as is what has happened now. You no longer have left and right, simply extreme right and lunatic right.

And all the people who voted them into power don’t have anything in common with them anymore.

Do yourself this favour. Set your political refutability and stick to it. Do not simply move the goalpost whenever they bypass it or else you’re simply deluding yourself into the illusion of Democracy.

So tell me, what would it take to lose your vote?

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PMOG Mission: The War on Science

This is a post, for completeness and awareness sake, in regards to the new mission I’ve just created in PMOG

Initially the plan was just to type a short post with a link to the mission for anyone who wants to take it, but since I write pretty long descriptions, I think it would be a shame to just lose them. To this end, I’ve decided to post the whole descriptions, along with the links to the mission articles themselves, which will also serve as a notification to the blog authors that they’ve been linked to.

So, my newest mission is The War on Science.

If you have a PMOG account, you should already be taking it and if not, well…get one already 😉

Description

Science is the accumulated knowledge of humanity that we have achieved through the scientific method and it has managed in a short 150 years to provide us with tremendous leaps in all aspects of human life.

However, this pure and neutral attempt of humanity to understand the world around it has been coming more and more under attack in recent years because it casts light into the shadows that people use to hold onto power

Follow me into a dangerous mission to understand why this is happening and how.

The Mission

Reining In the Fallacious Human Belief Machine

Our first stop is a more relaxed presentation of the Scientific Method (than a wikipedia article that is) and the classic problems you run into if you avoid it.

It is an unfortunate fact that human reasoning alone is not sufficient to understand the world. We are simply to error prone and this is why 2000 years of philosophy have not accomplished even a bit of what science did.

Why Things Suck: Science

But if science has managed to provide us with so much in its short time of use, why is it creating so many negative feelings?

Short answer: It makes us look bad,

Skepticism and Informed Consensus

But of course, science is not at war with everyone. Indeed, it is an invaluable boon to sceptics everywhere as it provides a rock-solid base for their beliefs.

The ability to question theories which go against real knowledge without having to “re-invent the wheel” every time is a great resource that helps to debunk and refute unrealistic or dangerous beliefs

The “Radio Wave” Argument

It is a common tactic of science-opponents to claim knowledge of something undiscovered or to hide in the gaps of our knowledge

But what people do not understand is that this is useless. Claiming to be able to see, feel or hear something no one else can, is of use to no one but yourself. And even that is disputable

Science vs. religion: no contest.

It is common for Science to be misrepresented as an “Atheist’s religion”, especially by religious proponents.

In truth, science has no direct relation with atheism other than the fact that it is, often enough, a fortunate result.

Science is not here to assault religion but it also does not care to appease it by conforming to it.

The Value of Science in Education

Science is oft misunderstood for it’s lack of absolute answers. While it can occasionally give you very high probabilities, it will never give you a 100% answer.

But is this a weakness? Far from it. It is, in fact, its greatest strength.

Lysenkoisml

But is religion and superstition the only enemy? No.

Every belief that is unfounded in evidence has the habit of turning against science when truth does not conform to its wishes.

Witness how the Soviet Union in its anti-capitalistic fervor ignored the scientific findings, with catastrophic results for its food production.

Inhofe’s 400 Global Warming Deniers Debunked

The most high profile wars on science at this moment happen on the fronts of Evolution – from religious opponents – and Global Warming.

You see, where religion attempts to discredit the scientific method, the vested interests behind Global Warming denial are waging a war of misinformation, attempting to slow down governments acting on what Science has discovered in order to retain profits.

It has happened before with the Tobacco industries, and it is happening yet again.

Incredible Machine Full Version “AKA Pipe dream”

But science does not have to always be boring and difficult. As previous articles have said, there is beauty in science.

I will leave you thus with an amazing video of a purely mechanical construct that by using the laws of physics can produce a wonderful result.