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Darwin's day - in the War on Science

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Wunderstrafanstalt
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Darwin's day - in the War on Science

Postby Wunderstrafanstalt » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:43 am

First, happy Darwin's day. (2019-2-12)

https://www.google.com/amp/s/sciencetre ... l-age/amp/

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/War_on_Science

Second, the War on Science is raging. You name it:
-Manmade climate change denial,
-Evolution denial,
-Anti-GMO,
-Flat earth,
-Antivax,
-LGBT is a "social construct".
-Etc. These movements fed on the fertile grounds of the free internet, imprisoning people to echo chambers. The threat from these are far-reaching, ranging from a "mere" coordinated national discrimination of sexual minorities o the collapse of the anthropocenic civilization.

(From the very neutral site that is the RationalWiki) Antiscience proponents often attack science through:

Attempts to discredit the scientists themselves. Examples include claims that Galileo was a heretic and that Charles Darwin was a racist.

Attempts to discredit scientific objectivityby claiming that the motivation to research a subject is biased. Examples include claims that evolution is a religion and that global warmingresearch is motivated by a desire for more government regulation.

Attempts to discredit scientific results because it's imagined they they have bad consequences. Examples include claims that the theory of relativity will lead to moral relativism and that Darwinismled to Social Darwinism and Hitler.

Attempts to use flawed arguments, such as argumentum ad populum, to "prove" a position correct or incorrect regardless of its scientific basis or lack therof. Examples include the Oregon Petition and A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.

Attempts to replace science backed by evidence (a.k.a. "science") with pseudoscience. Examples include creation science and Lysenkoism.

Attempts to label scientific ideas as conspiracy theories. An example is the idea that global warming is a conspiracy theory.

Attempts to couch antiscience positions in reassuring code words in order to appear less distortive of science. Examples include "intelligent design" or "alternative medicine".

Attempts to cut funding to science agencies so they lack resources to fight against the antiscience proponents.

Outright denial — because if you can't disprove something, just deny that it exists. Examples include germ theory denialism, HIV denial, or discounting transitional forms.

And the all-time favorite, attempts to obfuscate observed facts.


All of this madness surely has a root cause, and IMO it's the general distrust against the scientific/liberal "elites". One of the key phrase of the Brexit campaign is "Don't trust experts". And while the actual Brexit value and debacles is debatable elsewhere, that message is certainly not good.

With the trend so far going in favor of the Antiscience, I feel like a global countercampaign is needed. Flath earth, etc are just a symptoms, and symptoms kill. Problem: I don't know how. For things like antivaxx and climate change, we can F O R C E the solutions as human survival is on the top of our priority scale, and we'll be fine.

That is, until you consider the backlash would be massive, such as the Gilets Jaunes (which while the root cause are a lot (e.g elite decadency), the trigger is the fuel tax). Forcing things will simply backfire horribly wrong. "Letting things slide" however is also not an option either.

Of course we can't forget the Big Factors, e.g Trump and his environment-loving cronies (which is basically the only reason I stopped supporting the Republicans and turns to the Democrats with their... unique socio-economic plans (oh god) ).

That leaves us to the NSG: what are your thoughts about the global war on science, what are the other high-profile wars on science unmentioned here, and your ideas to counter it?

Or do you instead not believe in evolution/is an antivaxx/etc?

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Postby The Emerald Legion » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:06 am

Rational Wiki is about as trustworthy a source as conservapedia.
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Postby Hirota » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:43 am

Quit making it a tribal issue with overblown rhetoric ("the war on science") and deal with it rationally. Declaring war on (insert word here) is the domain of politicians, not rational people.

Also rational wiki is irrational

and IMO it's the general distrust against the scientific/liberal "elites". One of the key phrase of the Brexit campaign is "Don't trust experts". And while the actual Brexit value and debacles is debatable elsewhere, that message is certainly not good
I don't see anything wrong with a healthy does of scepticism. Using your Brexit example I didn't blindly trust either side. I voted remain because on the balance of probabilities I believed at the time we were better off remaining. I listened to the experts on both sides, but I didn't blindly trust one side or the other.

"Letting things slide" however is also not an option either
Why?
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Postby Internationalist Bastard » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:58 am

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Postby Xmara » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:02 am

I was a firm believer that there was a War on Science back in high school. But I've come to realize that the vocal minority advocating for pseudoscience (antivaxxers, flat earthers, alt medders, etc.) are just that- a minority.

Of course, science education should include how to spot fake science. But rest assure, the majority of people vaccinate their kids, accept that the Earth is round, and realize that alternative medicine is bunk.
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Postby Internationalist Bastard » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:04 am

Xmara wrote:I was a firm believer that there was a War on Science back in high school. But I've come to realize that the vocal minority advocating for pseudoscience (antivaxxers, flat earthers, alt medders, etc.) are just that- a minority.

Of course, science education should include how to spot fake science. But rest assure, the majority of people vaccinate their kids, accept that the Earth is round, and realize that alternative medicine is bunk.

Pretty much this
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Postby Valrifell » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:08 am

Xmara wrote:I was a firm believer that there was a War on Science back in high school. But I've come to realize that the vocal minority advocating for pseudoscience (antivaxxers, flat earthers, alt medders, etc.) are just that- a minority.

Of course, science education should include how to spot fake science. But rest assure, the majority of people vaccinate their kids, accept that the Earth is round, and realize that alternative medicine is bunk.


Also, making this a political issue and "going after" and insulting these folk will just drive them further into their beliefs, you need to kindly and politely explain why they're wrong. If that doesn't work, then you just have to ignore them.

Threatening to take away the children of anti-vaxxers would just validate their fears of an overarching fear of structures they poorly understand, for example.
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Postby West Leas Oros 2 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:10 am

Wunderstrafanstalt wrote:
(From the very neutral site that is the RationalWiki)

X to doubt
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Postby Xmara » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:52 am

Valrifell wrote:
Xmara wrote:I was a firm believer that there was a War on Science back in high school. But I've come to realize that the vocal minority advocating for pseudoscience (antivaxxers, flat earthers, alt medders, etc.) are just that- a minority.

Of course, science education should include how to spot fake science. But rest assure, the majority of people vaccinate their kids, accept that the Earth is round, and realize that alternative medicine is bunk.


Also, making this a political issue and "going after" and insulting these folk will just drive them further into their beliefs, you need to kindly and politely explain why they're wrong. If that doesn't work, then you just have to ignore them.

Threatening to take away the children of anti-vaxxers would just validate their fears of an overarching fear of structures they poorly understand, for example.

Yeah, I've had to learn that one the hard way.
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Postby Olthar » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:52 am

Xmara wrote:I was a firm believer that there was a War on Science back in high school. But I've come to realize that the vocal minority advocating for pseudoscience (antivaxxers, flat earthers, alt medders, etc.) are just that- a minority.

Of course, science education should include how to spot fake science. But rest assure, the majority of people vaccinate their kids, accept that the Earth is round, and realize that alternative medicine is bunk.

I want to believe that, but then I look at things like measles outbreaks in America and the absolute refusal of society to move beyond coal and oil and the sheer prevalence of non-GMO, "organic" foods in every grocery store, even Walmart, and I start to wonder are they a minority? Maybe it's different in other places, like Europe and Canada where they are actually developed, first world nations, but here in America, it seems like science and rationality lose more and more ground with each passing year.

Because it's not just one segment of the population; we're getting it from both sides. The conservatives are out there denying evolution and climatology while the liberals are denying genetic modification and vaccination. And the moderates are too apathetic to speak out against either. America is fucked, and I don't know if it can be fixed.
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Postby Xmara » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:01 pm

Olthar wrote:
Xmara wrote:I was a firm believer that there was a War on Science back in high school. But I've come to realize that the vocal minority advocating for pseudoscience (antivaxxers, flat earthers, alt medders, etc.) are just that- a minority.

Of course, science education should include how to spot fake science. But rest assure, the majority of people vaccinate their kids, accept that the Earth is round, and realize that alternative medicine is bunk.

I want to believe that, but then I look at things like measles outbreaks in America and the absolute refusal of society to move beyond coal and oil and the sheer prevalence of non-GMO, "organic" foods in every grocery store, even Walmart, and I start to wonder are they a minority? Maybe it's different in other places, like Europe and Canada where they are actually developed, first world nations, but here in America, it seems like science and rationality lose more and more ground with each passing year.

Because it's not just one segment of the population; we're getting it from both sides. The conservatives are out there denying evolution and climatology while the liberals are denying genetic modification and vaccination. And the moderates are too apathetic to speak out against either. America is fucked, and I don't know if it can be fixed.

I live in America as well. I still think it is a minority of people, but yeah, I see "non-GMO" stuff at Walmart (and the occasional "chemical free," yikes), and climate change denialism a lot (I live in WV, where coal is still a major industry).
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Postby Chan Island » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:13 pm

Wunderstrafanstalt wrote:First, happy Darwin's day. (2019-2-12)



And a happy Darwin's day to you too.

Wunderstrafanstalt wrote:All of this madness surely has a root cause, and IMO it's the general distrust against the scientific/liberal "elites". One of the key phrase of the Brexit campaign is "Don't trust experts". And while the actual Brexit value and debacles is debatable elsewhere, that message is certainly not good.



No, it is not because of some random distrust of experts. It's because for decades, the rich and powerful men who controlled the mass media have realised that experts are a direct roadblock towards creating a society that maximises the enrichment of them personally, so they have waged a concerted, determined and unceasing campaign against expert opinion on the pages of their newspapers and on their TV channels.

Wunderstrafanstalt wrote:With the trend so far going in favor of the Antiscience, I feel like a global countercampaign is needed. Flath earth, etc are just a symptoms, and symptoms kill. Problem: I don't know how. For things like antivaxx and climate change, we can F O R C E the solutions as human survival is on the top of our priority scale, and we'll be fine.

That is, until you consider the backlash would be massive, such as the Gilets Jaunes (which while the root cause are a lot (e.g elite decadency), the trigger is the fuel tax). Forcing things will simply backfire horribly wrong. "Letting things slide" however is also not an option either.


It's a tricky one, and frankly the scale of the problem is so massive that it is hard to know where to begin. My personal angle would be to first focus on a test subject, and try this concerted effort to change views on one thing. Lessons learned from that could be applied there.

I'd start with nuclear power. A lot of really dangerous shit and damage to national policy stems from the frankly ludicrous fear of nuclear power by people who, frankly, should know better. Changing attitudes on nuclear power would also see much more acceptance of the method for electricity generation and, with that, government investment into this technological open goal. Especially considering how it is much cleaner than fossil fuels, yet does not suffer from the perceived weaknesses of other renewables.


Wunderstrafanstalt wrote:
That leaves us to the NSG: what are your thoughts about the global war on science, what are the other high-profile wars on science unmentioned here, and your ideas to counter it?


The biggest problem is that there is no exact "war on science"- even the most ardent conspiracy theorist likes to think of themselves as pro-science. It's a rolling series of many separate controversies and debates, pitting scientists (who unfortunately rarely really understand how the general public works) and people who like to think they are with scientists versus snake oil salespeople and people who like to think they are with scientists and the occasional crackpot.
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:52 pm

LGBT is a social construct, as sexual orientation is a social construct.
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Postby Page » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:10 pm

United Muscovite Nations wrote:LGBT is a social construct, as sexual orientation is a social construct.


For most people there is a biological urge to have sex, a deeply rooted and strong instinct. Some people only have sexual desires with women, some with men, and some regardless of gender, so I would say sexual orientation is not a social construct.
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:11 pm

Page wrote:
United Muscovite Nations wrote:LGBT is a social construct, as sexual orientation is a social construct.


For most people there is a biological urge to have sex, a deeply rooted and strong instinct. Some people only have sexual desires with women, some with men, and some regardless of gender, so I would say sexual orientation is not a social construct.

It is a social construct because most people are not exclusively sexually stimulated by only one sex, and history bears this out. The idea of orientations has influenced people to identify more strongly with one particular attraction than with others, to the exclusion of others. This is why many "heterosexual" men have "homosexual" experiences in their youth.
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Postby Conserative Morality » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:35 pm

The Emerald Legion wrote:Rational Wiki is about as trustworthy a source as conservapedia.

Fucking lol

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Postby Esternial » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:15 pm

I think it has a lot to do with increasing individuality and connectivity in society and humanity as a whole struggling to adapt to it.

Things were probably "easier" in the past. Nowadays there are so many more sources of informations and there is no "single version of the truth" that people can cast doubt on anything.

Add to that all kinds of aspects of human nature and you've got a big mess on your hands. People are stubborn. People do things out of spite. People want someone or something to blame for their problems, and it's easy to blame something you don't understand. It's why the ancient Romans attributed natural disasters and such to their Gods and why our own God is responsible for all the evil in the world, though "for a good reason".

It's difficult to accept something you don't really want to, or can't.

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Postby Wunderstrafanstalt » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:16 pm

The Emerald Legion wrote:Rational Wiki is about as trustworthy a source as conservapedia.


r/wooosh, but I just go there to get the list of fallacies which I think are good.

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Postby Yusseria » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:18 pm

The Emerald Legion wrote:Rational Wiki is about as trustworthy a source as conservapedia.

This.

Find better sources, OP.
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Postby Esternial » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:21 pm

United Muscovite Nations wrote:
Page wrote:
For most people there is a biological urge to have sex, a deeply rooted and strong instinct. Some people only have sexual desires with women, some with men, and some regardless of gender, so I would say sexual orientation is not a social construct.

It is a social construct because most people are not exclusively sexually stimulated by only one sex, and history bears this out. The idea of orientations has influenced people to identify more strongly with one particular attraction than with others, to the exclusion of others. This is why many "heterosexual" men have "homosexual" experiences in their youth.

Fair point. Heterosexual and Homosexual exist in the same way the Left and Right exists.

Plenty of people ultimately force you to pick a side because they can't handle gradients and whatnot.

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Postby Scomagia » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:51 pm

There is no "war on science". There's widespread scientific illiteracy and certain groups have a vested interest in opposing certain kinds of research but that doesn't constitute a "war on science". Very few people are actively working against science in general. When mobs of Luddites are setting self-driving cars on fire and murdering vaccine researchers you can talk about a "war on science".

In general, opposition to one branch of scientific research doesn't imply opposition to science. Anti-vaxxers use cellphones, for instance. So the problem isn't a rejection of science; the problem is acceptance of bad science or rejection of good science when it disagrees with the conclusions you've already made. I don't think you can do much about that, honestly.
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Postby Costa Fierro » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:34 pm

Wunderstrafanstalt wrote:All of this madness surely has a root cause, and IMO it's the general distrust against the scientific/liberal "elites".


It's a combination of many things, there's no one true cause. The prevailing link between them is the predominant cult of anti-intellectualism, but that in of itself isn't the root cause.
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Postby Aclion » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:05 pm

I don't think there is a serious war on science in the public. Yes we're hearing more about flat earthers and the like but that's just because these people now have a platform where they can reach millions of other people, including those who share their ideas(also I am 900% sure that almost all flat earthers are doing it as a gag). Overall people are more scientifically literate than ever.

There is a war on science, but it is going on within scientific institutions. Retaliation against whistleblowers, lack of intellectual diversity undermining peer review, lack of peer review in the first place, it's all undermining our scientific institutions, and I think a lot of people, when they see a war on science, are actually seeing people who value science, and are upset that these institutions are failing to uphold it.
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Postby USS Monitor » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:05 am

Olthar wrote:
Xmara wrote:I was a firm believer that there was a War on Science back in high school. But I've come to realize that the vocal minority advocating for pseudoscience (antivaxxers, flat earthers, alt medders, etc.) are just that- a minority.

Of course, science education should include how to spot fake science. But rest assure, the majority of people vaccinate their kids, accept that the Earth is round, and realize that alternative medicine is bunk.

I want to believe that, but then I look at things like measles outbreaks in America and the absolute refusal of society to move beyond coal and oil and the sheer prevalence of non-GMO, "organic" foods in every grocery store, even Walmart, and I start to wonder are they a minority? Maybe it's different in other places, like Europe and Canada where they are actually developed, first world nations, but here in America, it seems like science and rationality lose more and more ground with each passing year.

Because it's not just one segment of the population; we're getting it from both sides. The conservatives are out there denying evolution and climatology while the liberals are denying genetic modification and vaccination. And the moderates are too apathetic to speak out against either. America is fucked, and I don't know if it can be fixed.


Having non-GMO and organic products in the store doesn't mean the majority has a strong preference for them. It only proves that some people (regardless of how many) have some preference (regardless of how strong). Labeling something "non-GMO" does not mean that it will ONLY sell to people with conspiracy theories about GMOs. I buy non-GMO granola bars because there is a brand that I happen to like how they taste. I don't check every product I buy to make sure it is non-GMO. But the fact that I bought non-GMO granola bars is still giving the store a motivation to keep stocking them.

Crusading for GMOs is not any better than crusading against them. There's no reason why everything needs to be GMO, and there's no real harm done by GMO labeling. It's just a label that people are free to ignore. It's not any more harmful than labeling things "low fat" -- which tends to be useless as nutritional advice because it doesn't tell you anything about the sugar content.
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Thermodolia
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Founded: Oct 07, 2011
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Thermodolia » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:50 pm

The Emerald Legion wrote:Rational Wiki is about as trustworthy a source as conservapedia.

It’s at least funnier than Conservapedia
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