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Thread: New book calls science a "Priesthood"

  1. #181
    Natural Philosopher RJBeery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Meanwhile: The "veracity" of the scientific method (not process) is meaningless - it exists, it's useful, it prevents mistakes and curbs the known human tendency to jump to conclusions and form mistaken patterns. It is not a method for finding truth, but for identifying error.
    Question:

    Do you think you are more certain of your faith in the veracity of the Scientific Method than the most devout of religious followers are in the veracity of their Religion?

  2. #182
    Quote Originally Posted by ughaibu View Post
    I take it, then, that you have no support for the suggestion that Wallace was a lunatic. So, are you withdrawing that suggestion?
    I have the writings of Wallace, so I know Wallace had loonie ideas; what more information does one need?

  3. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    I have the writings of Wallace, so I know Wallace had loonie ideas; what more information does one need?
    Are you suggesting that anyone who disagrees with you, about some questions of physics, is a lunatic??

  4. #184
    I emphatically state that anyone who disagrees with well-established empirical facts has an issue, not just with me, but with reality and the vast majority of professional scientists.

    For Wallace, an author that you assert had some professional training to have strayed so far from the totality of observation, is sad indeed and indistinguishable from either abject intellectual dishonesty or lunacy.
    Last edited by rpenner; 02-23-12 at 11:28 PM.

  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    I emphatically state that anyone who disagrees with well-established empirical facts has an issue, not just with me, but with reality and the vast majority of professional scientists.
    That sounds fair. Which "well-established empirical facts", if any, do you claim Wallace disagreed with?

  6. #186
    Observations of the behavior of light from 1859 onwards.

  7. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    Observations of the behavior of light from 1859 onwards.
    What does that mean? Specifically, what is the well-established empirical fact and what was Wallace's statement of disagreement?

  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjbeery
    Do you think you are more certain of your faith in the veracity of the Scientific Method than the most devout of religious followers are in the veracity of their Religion?
    I have no faith whatsoever in the veracity of the Scientific Method. I don't see how what is essentially a rule of thumb or principle of care in research even has such a property. I doubt that veracity is even a relevant concept.

    We have yet to see examples of this:
    the claim of sanctuaries, rites, "clergy", and a person or persons in control,
    I can't think of any, myself.

  9. #189
    flat Earth skeptic Aqueous Id's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJBeery View Post
    Uhh, I'm agnostic, and quite "scientifically minded", or at least aspire to be, thanks.
    Agnostic concerning...? Yes, I noticed you like to discuss math and science. I was surprised you expressed an anti-science sentiment.

    I could make the same exact case for Religion. Societies use it for comfort, to educate themselves, or to fix broken societal infrastructures. For so many people worldwide, Religion is their last best hope, and (surprise!) they scoff at any denigration of their Religion. (I still don't quite understand how you don't consider it elitist to consider the comparison a "denigration" of Science, but I'll let that go)
    Even that doesn't have any bearing on the ideation that Science is a flawed institution, nor does it lend credence to the proposition that scientists behave like a priesthood. And I don't understand how Science has anything to do with elitism whatsoever. If some people build personal power on account of their ...what?...their job?..., that just reflects an individual's personality, not a doctrine acquired from any of the literature, which deals exclusively with understanding nature.

    You're comparing the theoretical Scientific Ideal with the application of Organized Religion. If you think real-world Science is controlled by no one, having no sanctuaries or rites, no "clergy", no political influence, no corruption, no agendas and no flaws then you are blind.
    I suppose if my reality does not incorporate the bad guys in your reality, then you might conclude that I'm blind. Besides not seeing them, I have yet to understand who they are or what they have done. I see no evidence, and I hear no credible, verifiable or specific complaints. Clearly it's not my eyes. What is the nature of this blindness you diagnose me with? And which science has gone astray - the logic and geometry of the ancient Greeks, the Old World folks like Copernicus, Galileo and Newton? Or the fathers of naturalism, such as Mendel, Linnaeus and Darwin? How about Descartes, Pascal or Fourier? That still leaves an alphabet soup: Anderson, Bohr, Compton, De Broglie, Einstein, Feynman, Gauss, Heisenberg, Joule, Kelvin, Lorentz, Maxwell, Neddermeyer , Oppenheimer, Pauli, Rayleigh , Schroedinger , Thompson , Van der Waals, Wheeler , or Zeeman; and on and on.

    Given that science stands on the shoulders of these scientists, a thousand more of noted accomplishments, and countless others who followed them, who among them is the priest? This is precisely what I don't see.

    Both institutions are, in theory, a search for Truth. What do you think Amen means? As I said, it just so happens that (largely Western society) finds the "truth" of Science to be more practical than the "truth" of Religion.
    I would think the general perception of religion is that it deals in supernatural absolutes, whereas science deals in nature, and with best evidence as the guide, and subject to change if and when new evidence overturns a previously proven result. It's hard to imagine a more perfect pursuit of truth.

    As for society finding science useful: I would think most people, having had at least one science class in the course of growing up, would hold that science is the dry and perhaps boring pursuit of often trivial details though exceedingly complex methods that are hard to grasp through superficial overview. It's hard for me to understand how that bends a person's perspective into the ideation that there is a controlling bureaucracy, or propaganda, if this is what you mean, or any other kind of corruption done generally by scientists at large. All I have ever heard in this regard generally impugns science on account of some fundamental issue like evolution, abortion or climate change, and generally out of the person's objection to science insofar as it clashes with an accepted religious doctrine, particularly as it applies to those issues.

    Maybe you are a better spokesperson than others who seem to abhor science to the point of refusing to embrace it as a means of personal growth. You are exploring scientific ideas, so: are you partaking of some kind of poisoned brain food? That's where I can't catch your drift.

  10. #190
    Quote Originally Posted by ughaibu View Post
    That sounds fair. Which "well-established empirical facts", if any, do you claim Wallace disagreed with?
    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    Observations of the behavior of light from 1859 onwards.
    Quote Originally Posted by ughaibu View Post
    What does that mean? Specifically, what is the well-established empirical fact and what was Wallace's statement of disagreement?
    Wallace's rejection of the consistency of speed of light in a vacuum, his rejection of the success of the quantum relativistic field description of electromagnetism and his overt embrace of Newton's corpuscular light theory leaves him unable to explain GPS, how electromagnetism causes unlike charges to attract, the Lamb shift, and H. Fizeau's measurement of light in fast-moving dielectrics.

    (From the Introduction)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace
    in our time it is heresy to argue that there is evidence that the speed of light in space is not constant for all observers, no matter how fast they are moving, as predicted by Prof. Albert Einstein's sacred 1905 Special Relativity Theory.
    Since 1859, experiments with light and then electrons and then protons has consistently favored Lorentzian space-time over Newtonian absolute space and time or Galilean relativity.

    (From Chapter 1)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace
    if light was a wave in the ether, the ether would have to be nonsensible matter. Calling the ether space or vacuum does not solve the problem. Its existence is based on blind faith and not experimental evidence. As I will show in the following Chapters, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that light is a particle, as Newton predicted. The fact that most modern physicists have refused to objectively consider this evidence, has made a farce of physics.
    Here Wallace uses particle in the Newtonian sense and not in the sense of an excitations of a relativistic quantum field which is common to the post-1930 description of both photons and electrons. Rather than pick classical wave or classical particle, modern physics has picked quantum relativistic field and having not grasped this some 60 years later, Wallace is in no position to critique a status quo he can only misrepresent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace
    This empty space of modern physics is a supernatural solid that can have infinite temperature and density. A spot of this material that is smaller than an atom is supposed to have created the entire universe.
    In that he is still talking about electromagnetism and the vacuum, Wallace here misrepresents all parts of Big Bang cosmology.

    (From Chapter 2, quoting a letter as part of his partizan anti-quark campaign on the basis of a 1976 opinion piece by a Wallace-revered authority)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wallace
    At the APS 1982 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., Brown gave an invited paper entitled "Structure of the Nucleons." [92] After he delivered his paper, I challenged Brown to defend his QCD arguments.
    And yet the facts show (especially from deep elastic scattering) that electrically charged components of the proton do exist, and since 1960 or so, the quark model and quantum chromodynamics have met every test made. Later in this chapter he erroneously comes out in favor of "tired light."

    The simplest hypothesis that explains all these positions contrary to observation is that Wallace is a loonie and completely unreliable judge of scientific practice. From his self-documented career, he has a long history of cherry picking authorities and reports at odds with the mainstream and then without basis clinging to those fringe ideas without putting them to the test. He is not able to articulate a basis for clinging to those ideas, and this seems to have hurt his ability to function.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Crank_magnetism

  11. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    Wallace's rejection of the consistency of speed of light in a vacuum. . . . Later in this chapter he erroneously comes out in favor of "tired light."
    Where, in here, did he disagree with a "well-established empirical fact"? As far as I can tell, he espoused non-standard interpretations of well-established empirical facts, and he based those interpretations on empirical facts.

  12. #192
    Consistency of the speed of light in vacuum is an empirical fact.

  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    Consistency of the speed of light in vacuum is an empirical fact.
    What he didn't accept is that the speed of light is the same for observers in all frames, and that is not an empirical fact.

  14. #194
    Valued Senior Member Motor Daddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    Not a certification of current sanity.
    Which is true for you too.

  15. #195
    Valued Senior Member Motor Daddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ughaibu View Post
    Are you suggesting that anyone who disagrees with you, about some questions of physics, is a lunatic??
    Well he sure isn't open minded about things. I joined his site and he banned me for 5 years for posting facts in my opening post. Literally banned for breaking no rules.

    Bwahahahahaha

    Keep defending your priesthood, rpenner. You're on a sinking ship!

  16. #196
    Valued Senior Member Motor Daddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenner View Post
    I emphatically state that anyone who disagrees with well-established empirical facts has an issue, not just with me, but with reality and the vast majority of professional scientists.
    Which facts are those, rpenner, the ones you hold to be true? The ones that are inline with your beliefs? Why should I believe any test results of your experiments when it is shown over and over again that mistakes are made, equipment malfunctions etc. You keep testing till you get a result that you desire and then claim it as a fact?

    The main fact to consider with distance and time is the definition of the meter. A plain and simple fact that can't be proven wrong, by definition. No experiment can prove that definition wrong, by definition!
    Last edited by Motor Daddy; 02-24-12 at 07:58 AM.

  17. #197
    Valued Senior Member Motor Daddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ughaibu View Post
    What he didn't accept is that the speed of light is the same for observers in all frames, and that is not an empirical fact.
    Absolutely correct!

    The preisthood somehow believes that Einstein's second postulate is a law of physics. That is ridiculous. If Einstein believes that to be true and bases his entire theory on that concept, and later that postulate is shown to be false, his theory is garbage!

    BTW, Using SR to try and prove that postulate correct is absurd circular logic. In order to defend that postulate you can not use SR. What grounds does the priesthood have to stand on in order to defend that second postulate?
    Last edited by Motor Daddy; 02-24-12 at 08:08 AM.

  18. #198
    Quote Originally Posted by ughaibu View Post
    What he didn't accept is that the speed of light is the same for observers in all frames, and that is not an empirical fact.
    Sure it is, it is an empirical. Just devise an experiment to show this not to be true and you will be famous.

    Good luck.

  19. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by origin View Post
    Sure it is, it is an empirical.
    There has been no observation of the speed of light being the same in different frames, has there?
    So, your claim is false. Obviously so, because such an observation would require that relativity be false.

  20. #200
    Natural Philosopher RJBeery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aqueous Id
    They would scoff at this denigration of science.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aqueous Id View Post
    Agnostic concerning...? Yes, I noticed you like to discuss math and science. I was surprised you expressed an anti-science sentiment.
    Aqueous Id, you're saying that that Science doesn't have an elitist element when contrasted with Religion AND AT THE SAME TIME saying that my comparison between the two is an anti-science, denigrating sentiment.

    Does it occur to you that not all Scientists see Religion as a competitor, or even a bad thing? I'm neither officially* a Scientist nor am I Religious really in any way; I was simply making a philosophical observation that there are more similarities between the two applied institutions than some may have realized. In the classic "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn, he lays out pretty clearly how, despite our romantic ideal on the subject, the world of Science is just as subject to human imperfections as any other institution.

    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura
    We have yet to see examples of this:

    the claim of sanctuaries, rites, "clergy", and a person or persons in control,

    I can't think of any, myself.
    Uhh, what about Universities, labs, theses, PHDs, peer review, Nobel Prize Committee, I could go on and the comparisons are not that difficult to make.

    You guys need to settle down, I'm not attacking Science and, more importantly, SCIENCE DOES NOT NEED DEFENDING BY YOU.

    *Regardless of my ability to "do science", I am not considered a Scientist until I'm ordained with a degree.

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