Thursday, November 05, 2009

Unacquainted with logic...

Stating that the fact that Nazis performed "science" experiments on concentration camp inmates proves that science is somehow corrupt is exactly as much of a non sequitur as stating that mathematics is corrupt because they counted them.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Science can be biased and fraudulent?

Nooooooo!

If anyone wants me, I'll be out back gluing moths to trees.

Science isn't corrupt because the Nazis used it. Science is corrupt because human beings are involved.

Shootin' Buddy

Lorimor said...

Algore's science is corrupt.

Tam said...

If it's corrupt, it ain't really science, any more than "2+2=5" is really math, no matter how badly the people giving me the grant want it to be so.

Al Gore proves science fraudulent in the same way that this guy proves math fraudulent.

Further, even correctly done science is a nothing but toolkit of methods used to find things out, much like a pistol is a toolkit of parts used to launch a bullet. Any toolkit can be misused, and is neither "good" or "evil" in and of itself.

pdb said...

+1 to Shootin' Buddy.

The real problem, which Wilson comes frustratingly close to stumbling over but marches right on past, is that science without a strong moral framework can quickly lead to appalling places.

Another tangential problem is that science run by politicians leads to factually incorrect places that happen to be politically approved (global warming, Lysenkoism).

This does not mean that science is bad, just that it's a tool and tools can be misused.

Like that's a big surprise to gun people.

Tam said...

"Another tangential problem is that science run by politicians leads to factually incorrect places..."

Why call that "science"?

We wouldn't call that column in the paper "The Astronomy Column" just because it mentions planets, and we don't call Five Percenters "mathemeticians", but any agenda-driven assclown with a lab coat sucking off a grant teat gets his activities dubbed "science" no matter how much he cooks the books.

aczarnowski said...

I'm with Tam.

They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

OA said...

To quote Dean Yager: "The purpose of science is to serve mankind. You seem to regard science as some kind of dodge...or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman!"


"If it's corrupt, it ain't really science, any more than "2+2=5" is really math, no matter how badly the people giving me the grant want it to be so."

Indeed. Do you also extend that to "religious" people who do crap that goes against their holy texts and claim to be doing it for God, or just grumble about religion in general?

TJP said...

Geez you guys, get with the program. This is all nu-Science! In addition to the scientific method (when one feels like it), there's also the option of proof by conviction, democracy, or choosing statistical methods that produce the result that one just knows are there.

Anonymous said...

Soooo. . .
Does this "prove" that AlGore's "science" is also corrupt?

Just wondering.
B Woodman
III-per

Anonymous said...

As alluded to earlier, there is science and then there is the use--or misuse--of scientific knowledge by people. Scientific fact just sits there and stares at you. It has no moral value in and of itself. The conclusions which are drawn from the facts bring morality into the deal.

Stupidity, as well.

The Daily Mail apparently seeks out or attracts such writers. I note that our own Enquirer and Star do the same.

And, no, we haven't hit bottom, yet. :-)

Art

Aaron said...

Indeed. Do you also extend that to "religious" people who do crap that goes against their holy texts and claim to be doing it for God, or just grumble about religion in general?

First, bear in mind this is coming from a long time Christian who has been cudgeled about the head with all the atrocities committed by religions in general and Christianity in particular for his entire adult life.

It's apple and oranges. Science is morality neutral and objective. Period. If a scientists notes that A+B=C, doesn't like the results, so claims otherwise, that is not science.

Religion is a whole other ball game. First off, it most assuredly is not morality neutral. At least not any religions I can think of. Second, it is very subjective. Perhaps it should not be, I happen to think my interpretation of the Bible is accurate on all counts, but then so do a great many of my coreligionists who disagree with me. That's still religion.

Unfortunately this extends to those who commit atrocities in the name of a particular religion, even my own. The Inquisitors all believed in the same God I do, although with a very different set of corollary beliefs.

OA said...

Forrest for the trees.

My point wasn't a one to one comparison, but rather how people view others and the results their endeavors produce when a title like "scientist" or "christian" is attached to them versus what scientist or christian actually mean.

As Tam said:
"Why call that "science"?"

But that can be extended to so much beyond "science".

Stuart the Viking said...

While I would never defend what the Nazis did, I will go as far to say that just because people were harmed and evil was done doesn't in and of itself mean that it wasn't science. As long as the scientific process was followed it was science. Just like if you have a pile of 10 dead babies and another pile of 5 more dead babies and you use math to find that there are a total of 15 dead babies, you have done math in spite of how distasteful the items were that were added. Math does not give a crap what it is that you are adding.

Science is the same way, it doesn't matter how immoral or distasteful, if you are following the scientific process and trying to learn something, you are doing SCIENCE.

By no means am I saying that this makes it right or ok, and I am not giving an excuse for immoral behavior. Science is not a justification, it's a process.

s

wv: polbo, the name of a famous hobbit scientist.

Aaron said...

OA, I guess I can see your point about that.

I certainly don't appreciate being lumped in with the Westboro Baptist crowd.

I'm just not so sure we can exclude them and others from the label that also applies to me.

Mikael said...

Re: OA
What Aaron said, except I'm not religious.

And there's just so much stuff in the bible than can be used to justify pretty much anything. There's a guy in there who offers his virgin daughters to a mob to have their way with, and laters gets drunk, has sex with them and gets them pregnant. He's considered a good and pious man. That's just the tip of the iceberg...

OA said...

"And there's just so much stuff in the bible than can be used to justify pretty much anything."

And bad things have been justified in the name of science...but that doesn't actually make what was done science. Understand?

Steve R said...

Uh, Mikael.

Lot offered his daughters to a mob of homosexuals who wanted to have their way with the men (actually angels) who were under his protection as guests in his house. At the time and in that society, his protection of his guest superceded all other considerations, even his daughters' virginity (which they still had-as the offer was refused). Also, the daughters got Lot drunk, and they had their way with him, not the other way around.

Just to keep things a bit more accurate.

Mikael said...

Yeah I used some hyperbole, but there's lots of batshit crazy passages in there.

When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

And so on. Heck the very next thing after the 10 commandments are laws for dealing with slaves. For example if someone sells his daughter to be a slave, she shall not be set free like other slaves are set free.

Mikael said...

PS: There's a command from god in there about sacrificing your firstborn to him after it has been with its mother for seven days.

Kristopher said...

Mikael: That would be old testament stuff.

I'm an atheist, but even I know that the old Mosaic stuff is superseded by the new testament ... that's the whole Christian thing ... Christ being the new Messiah to those who follow him.

So, no, a Christian does not have to stone people for eating shellfish.

Aaron said...

"PS: There's a command from god in there about sacrificing your firstborn to him after it has been with its mother for seven days."

Where the heck is that? Are you talking about livestock?

Please don't tell me you're talking Isaac.

Mikael said...

Exodus 22:29-30

OA said...

"So, no, a Christian does not have to stone people for eating shellfish."

Clearly you've never seen what happens when the all you can eat seafood buffet runs out of crab legs in the middle of First Baptist's celebration of the big win over the Methodists in softball.

Mikael said...

How about some new testament:
Psalm 137:9 (referencing jesaja 13:16).

Happy shall he be who taketh thy little ones and dasheth them against the stones.

OA said...

Cripes, you're not one of those people that thinks 'A Modest Proposal' is really about eating babies, are you?

It's God voicing displeasure in how Babylon showed no mercy in destroying Jerusalem and is saying that Babylon will be dealt in the same manner. There's a difference between condoning such behavior and pointing out that it will take place (Persians and Medes).

It was Isaiah 13:15-16 playing out: "Everyone who is found will be thrust through, and everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their children also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished."

Aaron said...

Exodus 22 is talking about consecrating the firstborn son.

That's would be why the Jews, who still abide by the Torah aren't noted for engaging in human sacrifice.

Also, Psalms are in the Old Testament.

Seriously, get off it.

og said...

"Science" is an abstract method used by some for arriving at hypotheses. "Science" is also a bludgeon used by idiots to try to control other idiots.

Likewise, "religion" is an abstract concept used by some as a way to arrive at a core morality. "religion" is also a bludgeon used by idiots to try to control other idiots.
"Weapons" are somewhat less than abstract devices used for any number of things. "Weapons" are also (among other things) bludgeons used by idiots to control other idiots.

Science, Religion, and weapons (among many other things) are incapable of being good or evil of themselves. They can only be brought to good, or evil, by the offices of humans. And the morals, intentions, and abilities of those humans limit the good (or evil) that the object/concept can be used for.

The people who think of "science", especially pop science, as some sterile universal truth are idiots. The people who think of religion- any religion- as anything approaching universal OR infallible- well, they're idiots too. No different than anyone who thinks a gun isn't inherently dangerous, OR that it it too inherently dangerous to own.

At the core of the problem with any of this, is the human. So long as we keep being involved, we'll keep getting it right and getting it wrong in nothing like any kind of reasonable balance.

WV: Coption. You can get someone to drive you home after you've had too much to drink, or you can choose the coption.

ChrisTheEngineer said...

Sigh.

I think Tam gets what science is. But it is a rare talent.

$Deity I loathe those who say "it is settled SCIENCE!" While occasionally true, it is usually used as a cudgel to stifle dissent.

I do not believe everyone needs to be an engineer or scientist. But those who are not knowledgeable should be listeners.

Wanna hear about my brain surgery techniques?

Mikael said...

Aaron: actually it's clear if you keep reading leviticus that consecrate means a burning sacrifice. There is however rules about redeeming the sacrifice of a son for a price. Even so it's pretty damn sick.

And later on it goes on to say: "Note also that any one of his possessions which a man vows as doomed to the Lord, whether it is a human being or an animal, or a hereditary field, shall be neither sold nor ransomed; everything that is thus doomed becomes most sacred to the Lord. All human beings that are doomed lose the right to be redeemed; they must be put to death."

WV: Chess.