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  1. #21
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmileyMan View Post
    Politicians should in general stop playing scientists and follow the scientific consensus since it BY DESIGN will be the best answer given current our current understanding of the world.
    Really excellent points in your post @SmileyMan....I especially like your point about scientific papers being translated into laymen's terms and losing the essence of the scientific process which is fluid and in a constant state of evolution.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

  2. #22
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    this video from The Daily Show demonstrates science denial in liberals as well

    An Outbreak of Liberal Idiocy - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmileyMan View Post
    The scientific community is not to blame for the what you call "lack of consistency", but rather sensationalist and/or misguided pop-science literature - i.e. the people who are supposed to translate the language in scientific papers into something understandable to a layman. Good (in the eyes of the scientific community) scientists never proclaim their findings as Absolute Truths or facts because doing so would directly contradict the scientific method at the core of modern science.
    You mentioned it yourself: The community is in a constant state of evolution. No fact or conclusion is final, questions are always asked with nothing taken for granted, and controversy and discussion of competing ideas are seen as a sign of good science. The community understands this; that scientific knowledge is never absolute. Rather, it represents the consensus of a critical and vigilant community of scholars. It is this idea of consensus which is often confused with Absolute Truth by laymen, and which pop-science literature doesn't put any effort into clearing up because it would be bad for business. By wilfully leaving their readers in the dark on this point, and giving equal voice to the consensus-side and its antithesis, thereby forging a false balance either out of a misguided journalistic principle of fairness or desire for commercial success, they make the scientific community appear much more prone to changes in consensus than it actually is.



    And those people only doubt when the results go against their views. External parties should stop trying to paint the natural sciences with their ideological crap. The community is most competent at what it does, and the work of pseudoscientific mouthbreathing ideologues will be found wanting once weighed by their impartial colleagues.
    Politicians should in general stop playing scientists and follow the scientific consensus since it BY DESIGN will be the best answer given current our current understanding of the world.
    Forgot to reply to this. Good points. Yes, it is the pop-science translation of scientific research that is perhaps geared toward painting certain findings in a particular light for ideological reasons and claiming them as absolute truth. Unfortunately, for those of us outside of the scientific community, we rely on these sources much the way people rely on the news media for coverage of current events. If those alleged facts are skewed, we really have no way of fact-checking them ourselves which creates suspicion of any incoming information. As a Perceiver, this is especially true for me. I delay coming to judgements in many facets of life due to uncertainty.

    Perhaps this is why some people, referred to as science deniers, are skeptical of whatever publicized research claims to contradict their beliefs. They may have a lack of faith in the integrity of those translating the results of scientific research. Another example is carbon dating. I haven't done any sort of study on the merits of this process, but I've heard that there is some evidence that carbon dating isn't as accurate as scientists once purported. Whether or not that is true, I have no idea; therefore I don't base any beliefs on that assertion, one way or the other.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullet View Post
    Forgot to reply to this. Good points. Yes, it is the pop-science translation of scientific research that is perhaps geared toward painting certain findings in a particular light for ideological reasons and claiming them as absolute truth. Unfortunately, for those of us outside of the scientific community, we rely on these sources much the way people rely on the news media for coverage of current events. If those alleged facts are skewed, we really have no way of fact-checking them ourselves which creates suspicion of any incoming information. As a Perceiver, this is especially true for me. I delay coming to judgements in many facets of life due to uncertainty.

    Perhaps this is why some people, referred to as science deniers, are skeptical of whatever publicized research claims to contradict their beliefs. They may have a lack of faith in the integrity of those translating the results of scientific research. Another example is carbon dating. I haven't done any sort of study on the merits of this process, but I've heard that there is some evidence that carbon dating isn't as accurate as scientists once purported. Whether or not that is true, I have no idea; therefore I don't base any beliefs on that assertion, one way or the other.
    The issue with carbon dating is that the initial ratio of C-14 to C-12 is variable. Scientists originally assumed that ratio was constant and they were wrong. That said, Young Earth Creationists greatly exaggerate the impact of the problem. It doesn't disqualify all radiometric dating, or even carbon dating. Carbon dating is only used for objects less 100,000 years old. Without calibration (we only know the initial C-14 to C-12 ratio for the last ~10,000 years), this problem has resulted in larger age ranges. Rather than saying something is 50,000 years old, scientists will say it's 45,000-55,000 years old.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    The issue with carbon dating is that the initial ratio of C-14 to C-12 is variable. Scientists originally assumed that ratio was constant and they were wrong. That said, Young Earth Creationists greatly exaggerate the importance of the issue. Carbon dating is only used for objects less 100,000 years old. Without calibration (we only know the initial C-14 to C-12 ratio for the last 10,000 years, thanks to trees), this problem has resulted in larger age ranges. Rather than saying something is 50,000 years old, scientists will say it's 45,000-55,000 years old.
    Ahh...I see. Thanks for the tip. So dinosaurs DID exist! lol

  6. #26
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    I am content with the proposition that conservative skepticism of science is an American phenomenon. That is congruent with what I've found, and I don't have much of a position to ascertain where they stand in other parts of the world, but I do know offhand that the nature of what it even means to be conservative and liberal is different in other parts of the world.

    But... liberals doubt evolution when it comes to human behavior? Maybe some do have an excessive problem with that, but I perceive in that statement possibly an advocacy of evolutionary psychology, and I will happily continue to argue that most of that is crackpot nonsense. The thing is with evolutionary psychologists is that what they propose is far more narrow and assuming than the term evolutionary psychology would suggest at face value, but they tend to retreat to the most vague meaning of the term to cast their opponents as science deniers.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Sorry I don't play the victim.
    Hah. Sure you don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    There's an ongoing clash involving "things were meant to be that way" vs "everything is a social construction", "everything should be meritocratic" vs "government should provide everything", and both sides think they are the epitome of wisdom.
    This seems to put social construction and meritocracy at odds, and implies that meritocracy must be connected to some sort of idea of natural order. Wrong on both accounts.

    As far as I can see, everyone wants a meritocracy, it's just that a real meritocracy is impossible and few people agree on how to approximate it if the even comprehend that it's not possible.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  7. #27
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I am content with the proposition that conservative skepticism of science is an American phenomenon. That is congruent with what I've found, and I don't have much of a position to ascertain where they stand in other parts of the world, but I do know offhand that the nature of what it even means to be conservative and liberal is different in other parts of the world.

    But... liberals doubt evolution when it comes to human behavior? Maybe some do have an excessive problem with that, but I perceive in that statement possibly an advocacy of evolutionary psychology, and I will happily continue to argue that most of that is crackpot nonsense. The thing is with evolutionary psychologists is that what they propose is far more narrow and assuming than the term evolutionary psychology would suggest at face value, but they tend to retreat to the most vague meaning of the term to cast their opponents as science deniers.
    What is crackpot nonsense? The idea that our behavior has been shaped by evolution? Has the behavior of birds been shaped by evolution? Has the behavior of elephants been shaped by evolution? Why can't human behavior be shaped by evolution?

    What I find to be crackpot nonsense is this idea that humans are born as a blank slate. I don't know what claims evolutionary psychologists make because that's not a field I've bothered studying, but even if it is pseudo-science, that doesn't make the opposite extreme, that human behavior is 100% the result of the environment, true. This sounds like a case of two sides that are both wrong arguing with each other.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  8. #28
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    What is crackpot nonsense? The idea that our behavior has been shaped by evolution?
    Nope.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Has the behavior of birds been shaped by evolution? Has the behavior of elephants been shaped by evolution? Has the behavior of humans been shaped by evolution?
    Yes to all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    What I find to be crackpot nonsense is this idea that humans are born as a blank slate.
    That would be an excessive position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I don't know what claims evolutionary psychologists make because that's not a field I've bothered studying, but even if it is pseudo-science, that doesn't make the opposite extreme, that human behavior is 100% the result of the environment, true. This sounds like a case of two sides that are both wrong arguing with each other.
    I'm going to copy a post I made here because I seem to recall much of what I said is relevant (bold parts added now)
    I hate the term nature vs nurture, it is misleading. That is why I say inheritance vs acquisition. All of it is biological, of course, because it all comes from our neurology. The difference is what we inherit from our genes that is essentially determined from the start vs what we acquire from our neurology adapting to environmental stimulus.

    I don't believe it is accurate to talk about culture overriding biology. I don't think we have brains like iguanas that simply have more crap layered on top of them competing with our desire to be an iguana.

    Here's an interesting thing; there's quite a relationship between post gestational brain development and what we consider intelligence. Complexity and variety of behavior, problem solving, socialization, and all those things. Humans have the longest period, African elephants have the second longest, and from there is a familiar list of characters like bottle nosed dolphins and chimpanzees. In case you aren't aware, post gestational brain development is referring to the amount your brain develops after you are born.

    Now, it makes sense that this would relate to intelligence, because what it essentially points to is your brain's ability to develop in a way related to your environment instead of just being stuck with whatever plan was laid out in your genes. Apparently your brain never stops having some plasticity (which is why you can learn new things even when you are geriatric), but the earlier in your life, the more plastic it is, and as infant through childhood into adolescence, you adjust a lot.

    What I take from this is that you don't have some higher part of your brain fighting some low part your brain. You don't have culture in one part trying to override your bestial instincts in another. Your brain never settled on the form only your genes would have given you. The fact that humans have culture, and just such variable behavior on even an individual level, is not some weird addition, not some new layer, it is the fundamental, default form for a human being. So when an evolutionary psychologist, for example, tries to talk about what our true, inherent mating habits are, I don't think that makes any sense. Human beings have, for as long as any human record shows, expressed great variety in mating habits, and I think that's because we have such a long post gestational brain development period and so much plasticity. That variety of mating habits is the true, inherent way humans work, in so far as anything can be called that.

    The problem is the assumption that biology, neurology and genetics, is synonymous with inflexibility. And that's not my assumption. Oddly, that seems to be the evolutionary psychologist's popular assumption, when they should know better.
    If it wasn't clear enough from what's already said in that quote, what I express as my point of view is precisely what I think evolutionary psychologists don't share.

    To that end, they tend to publish some pretty ridiculous stuff, too. Some of my favorites:

    Evolutionary explanation for why pink is associated with girls and blue with boys.
    How cuddling might have evolved from guarding mates from competitors after sex.
    How humans inherently prefer curves to angles because it resembled the wild environment we adapted to.
    How some people obsess over manicured lawns because they are subconsciously trying to recreate the African Savannah of our origin.
    Proof that men and women inherently differ with men being more inclined to an active lifestyle, by measuring the amount of time babies of a species of monkey of different sexes spend looking at objects like rolling balls or cookware (I did not make that up, and that fucking study is actually frequently cited!)
    A study that finds crucial neurologically differences between men and women by taking MRIs of only female subjects.
    The finding that men are inherently attracted to large breasts, and women developed relatively larger breasts to resemble the buttocks, which was previous a sexual display (assumed because it is amongst many primates) but is now less suitable for display because of our upright posture. (if you aren't aware, that study is a compound problem. See if you can catch everything wrong with it)

    I could keep going for some time. And if any of them don't seem inherently stupid, I can go into detail about why they are. As far as I can tell, evolutionary psychologists or people doing research under that heading, throw out junk papers in greater proportion than sociologists (and I'm well aware at how much bullshit unfortunately comes out of sociology departments).

    I can't remember seeing an evolutionary psychology paper, in any context, and thinking "oh wow, that's interesting". Odds are, somewhere along the lines, I was snagged by something horribly wrong with it before I could take interest.

    So why is this shit so popular? We have to invoke H.L. Mencken:

    "Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong."

    Evolutionary psychology is in part popular because, and for the same reasons, the media loves it. The media loves to report evolutionary psychology research over most other kinds of allegedly scientific work, and while this is admittedly speculative, I believe it is because evolutionary psychology answer complex, human problems, with answers that are simple, definite, and conspicuously prone to confirming folk wisdom (for example, any stereotypical belief you inherited about men and women, evolutionary psychology is bound to back you up).

    To further elaborate on that folk wisdom part, I nabbed a review excerpt I recall reading of Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, a book which I have read, and I can attest to this assessment:

    "In general, the views that Pinker derives from 'the new sciences of human nature' are mainstream Clinton-era views: incarceration is regrettable but necessary; sexism is unacceptable, but men and women will always have different attitudes toward sex; dialogue is preferable to threats of force in defusing ethnic and nationalist conflicts; most group stereotypes are roughly correct, but we should never judge an individual by group stereotypes; rectitude is all very well, but 'noble guys tend to finish last'; and so on."

    In other words, miraculously, science has found the true nature of human beings at the exact sliver of time that our pervasive mainstream beliefs are aligned with it. When a person claims to have found that natural human behavior is the same as the behavior of their time and place, don't count on it.

    I don't think evolutionary psychologists are doing anything new. I think there has always been a group of people saying the sorts of things they say. They take whatever has the current veneer of authority, and wave it around to make arguments that things we consider normal now, naturally always will be.

    And as I've said, they retreat back into the general, obvious meaning of the phrase "evolutionary psychology" (that is, the idea that our psychology is some how a product of evolutionary selection), in order to accuse their opponents of being unscientific. But accepting that meaning does not automatically lead to accepting that, say, people have an inherent drive to manicure their lawns because of a sub-conscious longing for an ancestral homeland. That's fucking retarded. I think there must have been some evolutionarily adaptive reason for us to have evolved such a vast amount of brain plasticity.

    EDIT: Oh, and in looking for that review excerpt, I got this wiki article, which is a pretty fun read, though obviously I can't agree with every single idea put forward in it.
    Criticism of evolutionary psychology
    Go to sleep, iguana.


    _________________________________
    INTP. Type 1>6>5. sx/sp.
    Live and let live will just amount to might makes right

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