Posted on (UTC-5)
2017-01-15 @ 09:30:43
“These tenets are so familiar and so widely accepted that one might assume that they are undisputed “truths” with enormous evidence behind them, which all scientists accept.”
I may be suggesting it, but you are outright stereotyping a population of individuals. I would be more or less okay with the content of this article if the tone wasn’t so incredibly inflammatory and sensational.
2017-01-14 @ 16:41:53
As with previous Steven Taylor articles, reading this has got me all bothered and hot. I’m really hoping that this misrepresentation of science is unintentional, but based upon the tone of this and previous articles he’s written on HE, I doubt it, His contempt for science is palpable. Plus I just have a tendency to mistrust anything that mentions quantum physics in relation to anything other than quantum physics because it is all too often used to legitimize BS metaphysical claims.
I mean, wow! This article is incredibly polarizing. The author paints the picture of the Prophet on the Corner, proclaiming Truth through the Worship of Science. Maybe there are scientists like that, but they are far and few in between. I would say *most* scientists are a bit more reasonable. But no: we are under attack by scientists–the opposite from what I’ve typically found: science and rationality are under attack of anti-intellectuals. I direct the reader to the above article if they’re curious about what such an attack would look like.
Of course, due to my “Anthropological Arrogance” I strongly advocate for investigation of this wonderful state (being alive in the universe) in which I find myself.
Simplified (perhaps overly), science is a tool that leads to the generation of theories, like evolution, that explain or predict natural phenomena. If there is evidence against the current incarnation of a scientific theory, then from its ashes will arise a new theory. Repeat this a few thousand times and you start to get a pretty good of what’s going on. That is how science works. Science, by definition, cannot answer questions about the supernatural (because they aren’t natural). Nor can it tell one how to use the knowledge gained from it’s application. It is amazing that Steven Taylor has both overestimated (saying scientists are creating a dogma) and underestimated (saying evolutionary theory holds no water because didn’t explain epigentics) science as a tool.
Theories aren’t these rigid dogmatic structures. You wouldn’t guess it from the above article, which mainly attacks conclusions drawn from The Selfish Gene, which was written in the seventies. It is little wonder there is no mention of epigentics in it, since the field didn’t really come into its own until much later. We are still finding things out. Maybe in the next few years there will be a reputable evidence that sheds further light on the role of altruism for survival. Who knows, unless we do what Steven Taylor advises, and quit looking into these things. You will never know if you do not ask, thus inquiry is a most powerful thing.
I use science to form a predictive model of the current reality I experience. If topics on the fringe (like telepathy) start to become more commonplace (natural), then they won’t be supernatural anymore, and I will accept them. But if something can’t accurately and reliably predict certain phenomena, then why would use it to make judgements about the nature of reality?
I recommend Mr. Taylor take his own advice and re-evaluate the strength of his favored arguments and keep an open mind, because he seems all to ready to close his, with the very unhealthy side-effect of potentially closing others.
2015-07-05 @ 16:46:27
I can understand what this article is trying to achieve, but the pieces that lead to the conclusion were unjustifiably nasty. This writing is incredibly frustrating to me (a career scientist), and even though the author mentions he is a friend to science, all signs clearly indicate otherwise. Science is a tool. Like many other tools, it has a limit to its scope. Anyone who believes that science is unlimited is speaking from a place of ignorance, and I understand that part of the point of this article was to shed light on this. However, I hope I can mitigate the extent of the damage the author doing to reputations of people who work very hard to understand the universe that we collectively experience; people whose interests are aligned in improving the quality of the short amount of time we spend on this planet. I assure the readers of the above article that the people who do science are more than egotistic white Euro-American males who are trying to replicate the atmosphere of colonial enterprise.
The beauty of science is that its theories (such as evolution) are built upon mountains of evidence. It only takes one piece of contrary evidence to utterly devastate a theory. In light of new evidence, a theory will either cease to have merit, or it will adapt to include this new evidence. Can we find out what happened before the big bang or after the universe ends? Unlikely–but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. What about evolution in the face of epigenetics, rapidly evolving bacteria, and punctuated equilibrium. None of these really cast significant doubt on evolution. What they do show is the theory hasn’t been completely fleshed out—there are details that need filling in. That doesn’t immediately make it refutable. Just like organisms, scientific theories evolve over time. Unfortunately, the way these things are portrayed by various media is very good at distorting public perspective as to what is really going on for the sake of a good story
The author states that Stanley Miller’s experiment led scientists to believe the mystery of life would soon be solved. If I had been in that position, I probably would have been optimistic too, as it was an incredible discovery and inspired a generation of researchers. But this uncovers what many people unfortunately think: science is the new dogma. Science is the new religion. This is because of *belief*. And just because all those scientists believed something, doesn’t mean that it’s real or that it’s going to happen. No—but based on the evidence at the time, why not think there was a shot? Should give up because of potential failure? What a horrendously defeatist point of view. New minds that enter the field every year and continuous technological innovation mean that the further along we go, the greater the chance of discovering something new and truly revolutionary about life, the universe, everything.
As for a single cell developing into a multicellular lifeform, the author makes it sound like it’s a huge mystery. It’s not all about DNA— there certainly are master control genes (See Walter Jakob Gehring’s experiments). But we do know that the environment that surrounds a cell (extracellular matrix) is very influential in development of the cells themselves. Is it all figured out? Not even close.
Heck, there has even been research into the origins of conscious that I read recently which was quite interesting called the passive frame theory of consciousness. Is it right? I don’t know because I don’t think there’s enough supporting evidence, so more needs to be gathered. Time will tell, since if it has true merit, someone else will gather other evidence for or against it, publish their thoughts in a peer-reviewed journal, and then we’ll go from there.
What about the origins of life? There are tons and tons of compelling theories that may or may not come to explain it. There is evidence showing that potential precursors to the building blocks of life can be made in space under the right conditions. There is a hypothesis that, before cells developed, the molecules of life may have been contained in pockets of ice that froze and melting allowing for life to get going before there were true cells.
There are many questions that science has potential to answer, so why focus on those? Why not give questions that science doesn’t really have the capability to answer. For example: is there a deity? What is the purpose of an individual man? What is humanity going to evolve into? The author wants us to expand our consciousness, why slander the scientific community to achieve this end? Why attack the researchers who answer the smaller questions that the bigger ones are composed of? They may not immediately answer the questions the author doesn’t think can be answered, but their results propel their successors further on to potential discoveries that will.
Science and spiritualism can get along just fine—there are published studies showing the benefits of meditation on many aspects of life. Despite my apparent disability of being a scientist, I consider myself spiritual. I am grateful (almost) every day I get to be alive. I meditate (almost) every day because it keeps me from getting too stressed, it helps me focus, and increases the quality of my life and the relationships I have with people in it. I believe (see that key word there), that there is more to life than just the physical. I am a seeker, but I know science cannot answer and shouldn’t even attempt to. This seeking has led me through some very dark corridors and sometimes getting scorched by flying too close to the sun. I still learn from these nonscientific pursuits. Now I carry a light and fly at night ;)
I don’t get why this is on HE—a place where I have read 99% of the articles. None of them have upset me this much, regardless of how off the wall I thought they were. I don’t understand what appears to be gross disrespect to people who conduct scientific investigation, and it shows the author doesn’t have a very high opinion of just *some* scientists. This article comes across as very close-minded and ignorant to me, and I think it’s a shame the author felt the need to attack a group of people and discredit their efforts to make a point that could be done with other evidence. I am disappointed HE.