User Tag List

12311 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 157

  1. #1
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    MBTI
    ENFJ
    Enneagram
    1w2 sp/so
    Socionics
    EIE Fe
    Posts
    7,977

    Default Why Science is so Hard to Believe

    While I realize that the thread I had made previously on a related matter is still active, it was made more than 3 weeks ago. I feel that this article deserves it's own thread. It's a long article, but I find it to be very well written, insightful, and worth the read.

    Why Science is so Hard to Believe

    Excerpts from the article, though the first one I think captures it all, and is very interesting:

    Quote Originally Posted by excerpt
    The “science communication problem,” as it’s blandly called by the scientists who study it, has yielded abundant new research into how people decide what to believe — and why they so often don’t accept the expert consensus. It’s not that they can’t grasp it, according to Dan Kahan of Yale University. In one study he asked 1,540 Americans, a representative sample, to rate the threat of climate change on a scale of zero to 10. Then he correlated that with the subjects’ science literacy. He found that higher literacy was associated with stronger views — at both ends of the spectrum. Science literacy promoted polarization on climate, not consensus. According to Kahan, that’s because people tend to use scientific knowledge to reinforce their worldviews.
    Quote Originally Posted by additional excerpts
    Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative.
    ...
    In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle, that’s what science is for. “Science is not a body of facts,” says geophysicist Marcia McNutt, who once headed the U.S. Geological Survey and is now editor of Science, the prestigious journal. “Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”
    ...
    Shtulman’s research indicates that as we become scientifically literate, we repress our naive beliefs but never eliminate them entirely. They nest in our brains, chirping at us as we try to make sense of the world. ... Yet we have trouble digesting randomness; our brains crave pattern and meaning.
    ...
    Even for scientists, the scientific method is a hard discipline. They, too, are vulnerable to confirmation bias — the tendency to look for and see only evidence that confirms what they already believe. But unlike the rest of us, they submit their ideas to formal peer review before publishing them.
    ...
    The media would also have you believe that science is full of shocking discoveries made by lone geniuses. Not so. The (boring) truth is that science usually advances incrementally, through the steady accretion of data and insights gathered by many people over many years.
    ...
    We believe in scientific ideas not because we have truly evaluated all the evidence but because we feel an affinity for the scientific community. When I mentioned to Kahan that I fully accept evolution, he said: “Believing in evolution is just a description about you. It’s not an account of how you reason.”

    I think this article captures the essence of the issue here, and it's that science denial stems from the availability of information to everyone. I sort of touched on this in @EJCC's blog earlier today, and she did as well, and it's idea of experts and laymen; who causes the problem, do they both, and what can be done to mitigate it. It seems like there isn't any offering of a solution here. Nevertheless, it shows what's going on, and that it's actually quite complex. I wonder what others here feel would be a good solution to managing this problem in this modern era with it's overflowing information availability.

    On a personal level (and to be perfectly honest, I am not proud to admit this, but I feel I must for the purposes of the thread), I have experienced the effect of using science to reinforce my world views. For several years when I was around 16-20 (2005-2009), I was anti-fluoride, anti-vaccine, and partially anti-GMO. A lot came from influence from my mother, and I parroted it back. But I found I wanted those things to be true, so I found "evidence" (it wasn't really of course) to support it. It wasn't until I started to stay more alert and critical instead of starting from idealism that I was forced to admit that I was looking at the wrong evidence, and finding things to support my views. It wasn't fun, admitting I was doing it wrong, and was wrong. I still find myself wresting with this at times. I also still have an internal fear reaction whenever I get a vaccine, despite rationally knowing it's good. It's very important though for us to run against what our guts tell us with science when faced with credible evidence, because a lot of the time (as the article points out) science isn't intuitive, and even the deepest education of it can't prevent one from slipping.

    Discuss.
    MBTI: ExxJ tetramer
    Functions: Fe > Te > Ni > Se > Si > Ti > Fi > Ne
    Enneagram: 1w2 - 3w4 - 6w5 (The Taskmaster) | sp/so
    Socionics: β-E dimer | -
    Big 5: slOaI
    Temperament: Choleric/Melancholic
    Alignment: Lawful Neutral
    External Perception: Nohari and Johari


  2. #2
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    MBTI
    Yin
    Enneagram
    One sx/sp
    Posts
    13,909

    Default

    This is a little bit of an aside, but I remember when I was a younger lad and wikipedia just came into existence, and there was this chatter about the future of expertise, even the future of intelligence itself. there were editorials here and there and casual conversations abounding about this concept that the availability of information in the internet age was going to make the concept of the expert, or the scholar, what-have-you, obsolete.

    Back then, I correctly predicted how wrong that was. The availability of information does not increase the odds that people will seek it. It does not in any way improve a person's ability to know how to make sense of that information, to assess its veracity or know what it really implies. It doesn't require anyone to submit anything they find to anyone else's review. And it does not give them a stronger memory. So, experts are still a distinct thing because they differ on those accounts, and are therefore not obsolete.

    But, it seems that it has caused people to be more likely to believe that experts and scholars are obsolete. The reason for this has already been covered here.

    But I will say that whatever the solution is, it most certainly isn't taking information away from people. We must find a way, though I do not know how, to make people more responsible with information, either on the consumption end or the production end.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


    _________________________________
    INTP. Type 1>6>5. sx/sp.
    Live and let live will just amount to might makes right
    Likes Hard, Dopa liked this post

  3. #3
    likes this gromit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    6,652

    Default

    I think it's a lot of work for the average person who is NOT involved in some sort of STEM or healthcare field to make sense of a lot of concepts. And, for people in those fields, it takes a lot of effort to understand the nuances of studies and ideas outside of their area of expertise.

    I remember recently reading the results of a study/poll(?) that a surprising proportion of people would support mandatory labeling of foods that contain DNA (labels would state that deoxyribonucleic acid has been shown to be passed from a mother to her unborn child and can result in birth defects or some similar wording). The fact that DNA is present in our own bodies and every food we consume, necessary for life to replicate itself, is apparently not something on the radar of most people.

    I guess for the average person, it almost seems like it comes down to whether or not you trust the "experts."

    The idea of scientific literacy being linked to stronger/more extreme opinions is interesting too. But now I have to go to bed.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    4,226

    Default

    I'm not sure that the "science communication problem" can ever be solved, precisely because of the "overflowing information availability" we have today. It's easy for biased people to seek out pseudoscience to support their views. (E.g. Jenny McCarthy famously said "The University of Google is where I got my degree from," when asked by Oprah Winfrey how/why she believed that vaccines caused autism.)

    The best we can hope for may be to teach people how to detect BS, but it will never completely eliminate the problem. People choose to believe the science they want to believe and disregard the science they don't want to believe. It has been an ongoing phenomenon for all human history.

  5. #5
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    MBTI
    ENFJ
    Enneagram
    1w2 sp/so
    Socionics
    EIE Fe
    Posts
    7,977

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    I think it's a lot of work for the average person who is NOT involved in some sort of STEM or healthcare field to make sense of a lot of concepts. And, for people in those fields, it takes a lot of effort to understand the nuances of studies and ideas outside of their area of expertise.

    I remember recently reading the results of a study/poll(?) that a surprising proportion of people would support mandatory labeling of foods that contain DNA (labels would state that deoxyribonucleic acid has been shown to be passed from a mother to her unborn child and can result in birth defects or some similar wording). The fact that DNA is present in our own bodies and every food we consume, necessary for life to replicate itself, is apparently not something on the radar of most people.

    I guess for the average person, it almost seems like it comes down to whether or not you trust the "experts."

    The idea of scientific literacy being linked to stronger/more extreme opinions is interesting too. But now I have to go to bed.
    You are exactly right.

    I remember reading about that poll as well. It really brings light to how little the general public knows, and yet still desires to influences decisions like this without a rational basis. I'm in a STEM field and I make a point to defer my understanding to experts when it is on fields too far outside of what I study since I don't have the credentials or facillities to accurately assess what's going on.

    I'm speculating here, but I think the reason for the stronger extremes in more scientific literate individuals is because of the increased confidence in onesself when it comes to being an expert in something. EJCC talked about this earlier and reminded me of the phenomon known as the dunning-kruger effect. I think what were seeing might be that in action in a number of individuals in some form. I'm not sure if it exactly fits, but it's at least inflated self confidence. Some justified, some not.
    MBTI: ExxJ tetramer
    Functions: Fe > Te > Ni > Se > Si > Ti > Fi > Ne
    Enneagram: 1w2 - 3w4 - 6w5 (The Taskmaster) | sp/so
    Socionics: β-E dimer | -
    Big 5: slOaI
    Temperament: Choleric/Melancholic
    Alignment: Lawful Neutral
    External Perception: Nohari and Johari


  6. #6
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    5,808

    Default

    There is also the overuse of the term 'expert' such that it can be hard to tell where it has been earned and where it is just being bandied about, particularly by media reports.

    Especially since most people hear about scientific breakthroughs from the news. This isn't too surprising though, especially when you consider that people usually start with a theory and then look for evidence to support it as opposed to the opposite.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.
    Likes Hard, gromit, Bknight, The Wailing Specter liked this post

  7. #7

    Default

    Science often goes against intuition, emotion and predefined notions. Some scientific facts can be downright painful to people.
    "A negative mind will never give you a positive life." http://bosniannames.com/
    Likes Cellmold liked this post

  8. #8
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Posts
    2,968

    Default

    Science is like Zen. It isn't easy, and it isn't difficult. It's neither simple nor complicated. To fill your cup it must first be empty.
    Likes The Wailing Specter liked this post

  9. #9
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Posts
    2,968

    Default

    Also another issue is pervasive layman terms being taken as correct facts, such as the old argument about whether the earth goes around the sun, or the sun around the earth, where actually both perspectives are wrong - the earth and sun together orbit a point called a barycenter, which is the balance point of their respective masses. So people think they understand something but often they don't even know what it is they understand.
    Likes gromit, uumlau, The Wailing Specter liked this post

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    4,226

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    Also another issue is pervasive layman terms being taken as correct facts, such as the old argument about whether the earth goes around the sun, or the sun around the earth, where actually both perspectives are wrong - the earth and sun together orbit a point called a barycenter, which is the balance point of their respective masses. So people think they understand something but often they don't even know what it is they understand.
    Pervasive misuse of scientific terms by laymen is also a great source of misunderstanding. The common creationist argument that "evolution is just a theory" is example numero uno...
    Likes SpankyMcFly liked this post

Similar Threads

  1. [NF] why is introverted intuition so hard to verbolize?
    By chado in forum Myers-Briggs and Jungian Cognitive Functions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-13-2015, 11:46 AM
  2. Why does my generation find it so hard to grow up?
    By Lightyear in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 01-28-2011, 05:39 AM
  3. Why are we so attracted to misfortune?
    By Geoff in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 05-16-2008, 11:44 PM
  4. Why is it so hard to not feed the trolls?
    By Zergling in forum The Bonfire
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 11-15-2007, 05:23 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO