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The Science Delusion: has science become dogmatic?

tuga

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#1
The Science Delusion: has science become dogmatic?
Scientist and author Rupert Sheldrake spoke to George Gillett after addressing an audience at the Oxford Union

Rupert Sheldrake’s latest book, The Science Delusion, explores what Sheldrake describes as “the ten dogmas of modern science”. The claim seems radical at first – Sheldrake is questioning mainstream science beliefs such as the idea that the mind exists in the brain, and that nature is unconscious. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, Sheldrake’s argument soon seems to win the audience over.

These dogmas are “off limits” in the scientific community, he explains with authority, yet they lack any substantial evidence and have arisen from conclusions without research.

The problem is especially apparent in physics, Sheldrake argues, suggesting that the laws of nature may not be fixed, regardless of widely held belief. He explains that scientists across the globe consistently record different measurements for the gravitational force or the speed of light. Despite this, they maintain that their variation is due to experimental error, and not an actual change in these so-called constants. “But what if the laws of nature vary throughout the day” suggests Sheldrake, urging scientists to analyse evidence instead of just accepting widely held “dogmas”. He goes further, explaining how physicists, in order to justify these figures, “make up” certain proportions of dark energy and matter to ensure that the calculations fit in with proposed models.

But could science really be dogmatic – after all, isn’t science just an organised method of investigation? Sheldrake maintains that he isn’t attacking science itself – rather it is the unequal distribution of funding that he is concerned with. “Unconventional ideas are neglected,” because journals are only willing to fund research that gets a high citation index – which disproportionality benefits well-established fields and overlooks unconventional ones. This allegedly leads to what Sheldrake describes as an “innovation deficit”; a situation where scientific discoveries have slowed down because we have limited our research efforts because of such dogmas.

full text here -> https://www.oxfordstudent.com/2013/11/28/the-science-delusion-has-science-become-dogmatic/
 

pkane

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#2
A non-scientist, if there ever was one. I've read his morphic resonance book a while back. There's no science, just speculation based on unconfirmed rumors, with no real evidence, proposed experiments, or even a semblance of a real scientific theory. Here's a quote from wikipedia:

Alfred Rupert Sheldrake is an English author, and researcher in the field of parapsychology, who proposed the concept of morphic resonance, a conjecture which lacks mainstream acceptance and has been characterised as pseudoscience.

I'm not surprised Rupert would want to prove that mainstream science is wrong, simply because he can't prove that he's right.
 

Ron Texas

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#3
I'm more concerned about science becoming a means to accomplish non scientific goals. A local virologist has been regularly interviewed by the Houston Chronicle. Most recently he pulls out a model showing COVID-19 infections in Houston spiking by mid July. He does admit the model's assumptions are not robust. The model at healthdata.org, which is used by Dr. Birx, shows infections peaked recently and will gradually decline to insignificant numbers by August. This physician scientist is playing games. He may be trying to convince people to be careful, or he may have some other agenda. It's clear to me the model he selected was an outlier. Note that I think the reporter is a very good journalist, and I told her about this.
 
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#4
Sheldrake argues, suggesting that the laws of nature may not be fixed, regardless of widely held belief. He explains that scientists across the globe consistently record different measurements for the gravitational force or the speed of light.
Speed of light is dependent on the medium in which the light travels.
Depending on the accuracy you want, different densities of air might be enough to get slightly different results.
Scientists across the globe getting different values for the gravitational force is to be expected.
Terra is not a perfect sphere, after all. Gravitational force mostly depends on the distance to the earth's core.

He might be right, that unconventional theories are regarded with caution. After all, it is the job of science to -PROVE- theories where humanly possible. If a person knowledgeable in the field debunks your theory within minutes by using hard data / observed behavior, do not be surprised when you don't find acceptance.
 

Head_Unit

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#5
Science can also be affected by personalities and internal politics. A few decades of "Fat makes you fat!" seem to have been pretty much wrong, and the sugar that replaced it a literal killer. I was reading where one scientist was blaming sugar back in the IIRC late 70s, but another fellow who had championed "fat makes you fat" was louder and more savvy with the politics of science (=how hypotheses are regarded and how funding is allocated). So now we have nearly everyone overweight and massive additional healthcare spending essentially because one guy was a loudmouth.

It's a dilemma-out of limited funds for research, you don't want to allocate to crackpot waste-of-time ideas. However, like continental drift, or the Earth revolving around the sun, the crackpot ideas DO sometimes turnout to be true. In David Brin's wacky and very interesting Kiln People, part of the plot impinges on reality not existing until observed by a consciousness. That sounds nuts but actually mirrors/extrapolates from my understanding of some physics experiments.
 

q3cpma

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#7
The thing is that there's science (the scientific method), organizations pretending to use it often with some biases in funding or hypothesises and mostly crooked medias saying "Science (tm) said this", where Science (tm) is basically a replacement or complementary religion.
And there's the problem of scientists/engineers being very often intelligent (it's basically a requirement) but not with a significatively higher proportion of wise men than average.
 

pkane

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#8
reality not existing until observed by a consciousness. That sounds nuts but actually mirrors/extrapolates from my understanding of some physics experiments.
I’ve long maintained that there is no objective reality. Everything and everyone exist only in my mind, including the wacky quantum mechanics. I know I exist since I’m the one thinking this. Everyone else may as well be a figment of my imagination, and no experiment can falsify this. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :)
 

Wes

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#9
Didn't Blondie write a song about Mr. Sheldrake?

I'm not living in the real world.
 

Wes

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#10
I’ve long maintained that there is no objective reality. Everything and everyone exist only in my mind, including the wacky quantum mechanics. I know I exist since I’m the one thinking this. Everyone else may as well be a figment of my imagination, and no experiment can falsify this. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :)
That is completely false. You are actually a butterfly making up dreams. I know this because I just saw the butterfly and asked him about it.
 

pkane

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That is completely false. You are actually a butterfly making up dreams. I know this because I just saw the butterfly and asked him about it.
Your report is wholly untrustworthy, since you are probably not real, and neither is the butterfly. Don't even know why I bother answering, as I'm likely just talking to myself and to some imaginary friends :)
 

farcurse

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#14
Regarding dogma in physics, I used to be in particle astrophysics. Many researchers were searching for evidence that the laws of physics were different over time or space. Finding evidence of that would have been very interesting indeed. As a tiny example, the last paper I wrote before leaving the field used observations of the abundance of elements produced in first hour or so after the big bang coupled with details of the cosmic microwave background spectrum (produced about 300,000 years after the big bang) to study the speed of light in the early universe. Unfortunately the evidence was most consistent with the speed of light being a constant from at least the first second after the big bang until now. We were definitely not dogmatic and in fact hoped to demonstrate evidence of variation!

In general physicists love to see inconsistencies in measurements of fundamental quantities and to speculate about deep theoretical changes that would explain them. Most of the time though the differences go away with repeated or better measurements. That's just the way the world works.
 

Putter

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#15
This may be a little OT, but I remember my father who was PhD Organic Chemist mentioning a colleague of his who attempted to take 1 mole of Sodium and combine it with 1 mole of Chlorine to get 1 mole of Sodium Chloride, i.e. Salt and could never get it to come out exactly.

Obviously the Law of Chemistry and Physics were changing every time he did his experiment.:facepalm:
 

Putter

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#16
I'm more concerned about science becoming a means to accomplish non scientific goals. A local virologist has been regularly interviewed by the Houston Chronicle. Most recently he pulls out a model showing COVID-19 infections in Houston spiking by mid July. He does admit the model's assumptions are not robust. The model at healthdata.org, which is used by Dr. Birx, shows infections peaked recently and will gradually decline to insignificant numbers by August. This physician scientist is playing games. He may be trying to convince people to be careful, or he may have some other agenda. It's clear to me the model he selected was an outlier. Note that I think the reporter is a very good journalist, and I told her about this.
This is rather OT, but what determines whether the; IHME model Ms. Birx uses is any more robust than your local virologist who is willing to admit the limitations of his model and which apply to all models.

https://www.centerforhealthjournali...ls-can-feel-brutal-roller-coaster-their-fault

In recent weeks, frustration has grown as models from diverse sources don’t match up and sometimes dramatically change over time. In particular, one influential model frequently cited by the White House appeared to swing wildly from one estimate to another. Created by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE), the model has been most repeatedly criticized for underestimating the pandemic’s severity and changing its predictions.

“It’s disheartening and alarming when we see politicians seizing upon one particular model at one snapshot in time,” Witten says. “They should not be cherry-picking just the one model that agrees with their political viewpoint.”

Instead, leaders should recognize that all models have strengths and weaknesses and carefully consider the range of models at their disposal, said Erin Mordecai, an infectious disease ecologist at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, whose lab has applied their own COVID-19 model to Santa Clara County.



https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/5/2/21241261/coronavirus-modeling-us-deaths-ihme-pandemic

This coronavirus model keeps being wrong. Why are we still listening to it?
A model that the White House has relied on has come under fire for its flawed projections.


The IHME model is unusual compared to other epidemiological models for its design, too. While most of the models use standard epidemiology modeling tactics like SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered modeling) or use computer simulations, the IHME model is effectively just about fitting a curve from early data in China and Italy to the disease’s trajectory elsewhere.

But on May 20, the model is entirely sure there will be zero deaths. The 95 percent confidence interval runs from zero deaths to ... zero deaths.


There are many other devastating quotes in the articles and claims that the flaws have been fixed, but being flawed in the past likely means flawed in the future.
 

Ron Texas

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#17
@Putter all models suck. The issue as I see it is the local expert picked one which was an outlier to make some kind of a point or sensationalize the issue. By the way, we are being asked to change our lives and economy based on the predictions of certain other models unrelated to COVID-19, if you get my drift. Perhaps those are garbage too.
 

egellings

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#18
I think that to argue about the speed of light, measurement conditions must be carefully, accurately specified. I personally have no way to make that measurement, so I suggest that all measurements be made in outer space, in a vacuum, to get rid of variations caused by the medium the light goes through.
 

Wes

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This is rather OT, but what determines whether the; IHME model Ms. Birx uses is any more robust than your local virologist who is willing to admit the limitations of his model and which apply to all models.
...
The model from the U. Wash. group is a curve-fitting model, and non-mechanistic. There is a paucity of information about the actual methodology.

Nonetheless, I am sure it was created in good faith, if not selected in good faith by the Administration's poliitical operatives.
 

RayDunzl

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#20
I think that to argue about the speed of light, measurement conditions must be carefully, accurately specified. I personally have no way to make that measurement, so I suggest that all measurements be made in outer space, in a vacuum, to get rid of variations caused by the medium the light goes through.
Isn't LIGO a good candidate for that test? They have a vacuum.

"LIGO’s optical components quietly reside in a colossal vacuum chamber encompassing 10,000 cubic meters (353,000 cubic feet), with an air pressure of 10-9 torr, or one-trillionth of an atmosphere."

Even space isn't good enough:

Interplanetary Space has enough junk in its vacuum to provide the mass for plasma thrusters - https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1238/1/012063/pdf

"Ultra-high vacuum chambers, common in chemistry, physics, and engineering, operate below one trillionth (10−12) of atmospheric pressure (100 nPa), and can reach around 100 particles/cm3.[4] Outer space is an even higher-quality vacuum, with the equivalent of just a few hydrogen atoms per cubic meter on average in intergalactic space."

Intergalactic space is distant.

"According to modern understanding, even if all matter could be removed from a volume, it would still not be "empty" due to vacuum fluctuations, dark energy, transiting gamma rays, cosmic rays, neutrinos, and other phenomena in quantum physics."

LIGO is measuring distance over 4km lengths to (claimed) within "change in distance 10,000 times smaller than a proton".

Of course, you still have to deal with the background gravitation that will spoil everything.

Do you have to take into account where the Moon is in its orbit? The orientation of the revolution of the Earth to the Sun?

Maybe so: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_tide

And other arbitrary conventions:

"The speed of light in vacuum, commonly denoted c, is a universal physical constant important in many areas of physics. Its exact value is defined as 299792458 metres per second. It is exact because by international agreement a metre is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1⁄299792458 second."

What's a second?

"The second is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom."

That was 1967. I wonder if that has been "refined".
 
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